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Bruckner Symphony 3
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Vadim Gluzman - A quite extraordinarily good disc

This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
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Let me tell you
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Birmingham and BBC Proms

Berkeley - Authenticity

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[This month's Recommended recordings]


Mario del Monaco Live Vincenzo BELLINI (1801–1835) Norma: 1. Svanire le voci … Meco all’altar di venere [8:01] Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Ernani: 2. Mercè diletti amici … Come rugiada al cespite [5:42] Il trovatore: 3. Qual d’armi fragor … Di quella pira [8:51] 4. Madre, non dormi? Ecco l’istante [16:52] La forza del destino: 5. Ah, per sempre, o mio bell’angiol [9:22] 6. La vita è inferno all’infelice … O tu che in seno [9:04] Aida: 7. Se quel guerrier io fossi … Celeste Aida [4:18] 8. Pur ti riveggo, mia dolce Aida [13:03] Mario del Monaco (tenor) Athos Cesarini (tenor) (1; 3); Leyla Gencer (soprano) (3; 4); Fedora Barbieri (mezzo) (4); Ettore Bastianini (baritone) (4); Maria Callas (soprano) (8); Giuseppe Taddei (baritone) (8); Oralia Dominguez (mezzo) (8) Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RAI/Tullio Serafin (1); Metropolitan Orchestra/Dimitri Mitropoulos (2); Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano della RAI/Fernando Previtali (3; 4); Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Dimitri Mitropoulos (5; 6); Orchestra del Palacio de Bellas Artes/Oliviero de Fabritiis (7; 8) rec. live, 1951 (1, 7, 8), 1953 (5, 6), 1956 (2–4) ISTITUTO DISCOGRAFICO ITALIANO IDIS6518 [75:16] [GF]

Primitive sound and Mario del Monaco at both his best and worst makes this a disc for die-hard admirers ... see Full Review

Nathan Milstein (violin) Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 [31:24] Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) 6 Songs, Op. 34: No. 2. Auf Flugeln des Gesanges (On Wings of Song) (arr. L. Anderson for violin and orchestra) [03:04] Stephen C. FOSTER (1826-1864) Old Folks at Home (arr. L. Anderson for violin and orchestra) [03:41] Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Ellen's Gesang III (Ave Maria!), Op. 56, No. 6, D. 839, "Hymne an die Jungfrau" (arr. L. Anderson for violin and orchestra) [04:14] Schwanengesang, D. 957: No. 4. Ständchen (Serenade) (arr. L. Anderson for violin and orchestra) [04:20] Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) 3 Songs, Op. 7: No. 1. Après un rêve (arr. L. Anderson for violin and orchestra) [02:35] Ede POLDINI (1869-1957) 7 Marionettes: No. 2. Poupée valsante (Dancing Doll) (arr. L. Anderson for violin and orchestra) [02:45] Alexander Konstantinovich GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Meditation in D major, Op. 32 [03:26] Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Mavra: Russian Maiden's Song, "Parasha's Aria" (arr. S. Dushkin for violin and piano) [03:34] Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) 2 Mazurkas, Op. 19: No. 2. Mazurka in D major, "Dudziarz" (Le menetrier) [03:36] Karl BÖHM (1844-1920) Calm as the Night (Still wie die Nacht), Op. 326, No. 27 [03:24] Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY 6 Romances, Op. 6: No. 6. None But the Lonely Heart [04:28] Nathan Milstein (violin) Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch, rec. 29 March 1953 (Tchaikovsky concerto); RCA Victor Orchestra/Arthur Fiedler, rec. 17, 19 January 1950 (Mendelssohn; Foster; Schubert; Fauré; Poldini); Artur Balsam (piano), rec. 26 February 1949 (Glazunov; Stravinsky; Wieniawski); Gibner King (piano); Ezio Pinza (bass), rec. 17 March 1952 (Böhm; Tchaikovsky) NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111259 [70:31][EMc]

Milstein combines nobility with bravura ... see Full Review

Madeleine Mitchell - Violin Songs Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Chanson de Matin Op.15 No.2 (1899) [3:07] Chanson de Nuit Op.15 No.1 (1897) [3:30] Salut d' Amour Op 12 (1888) [3:08] Alban BERG (1885-1935) Die Nachtigall (1907) transcribed Madeleine Mitchell [2:12] Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Mélodie (1911) [3:44] Morceau Caracteristque (1907-08) [6:55] Amaryllis (1905) [2:18] Romanze (1904) [4:28] Spring Song (1912) [2:20] Moto Perpetuo (1900) [1:46] Berceuse (1901) [2:46] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Berceuse sur le Nom de Fauré (1922) [2:42] Sergei PROKOFIEV (1893-1953) Cinq Mélodies op.35b (1920 transcribed 1925) [12:56] Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Méditation from Thaïs (1894) [4:47] Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Nocturne (1911) [2:56] Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Nocturne (1926) [5:20] Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Violon (1939 - transcribed Madeleine Mitchell) [2:04] Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Ave Maria D 839 (1825) arranged by Johannes Palatschko [5:32] Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Morgen Op.27 No.4 (1894 orchestrated 1897) [4:16] * Madeleine Mitchell (violin) Andrew Ball (piano) Elizabeth Watts (soprano) * rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, May 2007  DIVINE ART DDA25063 [76:50] [JW]

Mitchell’s more intimate playing brings its own rewards ... see Full Review

Music for the Court of Maximilian II Jacobus VAET (c.1529-1567) Videns Dominus a 5 [04:55] Antonius GALLI (d.1565) Missa Ascendetis post filium a 6 [34:00] Jacobus VAET Conditor alme siderum a 6 [06:43] O quam gloriosum a 4 [02:18] Pieter MAESSENS (c.1505-1562) Discessu dat tota tuo a 6 [03:58] Jacobus VAET Ascendetis post filium 'In laudem Invictiss. Rom. Imp. Max II' a 6 [06:50] Orlandus LASSUS (1532-1594) Pacis amans a 6 [05:07] Jacobus VAET Continuo lacrimas 'In mortem Clementis non Papae' a 6 [03:39] Cinquecento Renaissance Vokal rec. June 2006, Dominikanerkirche, Retz, Austria DDD HYPERION CDA67579 [67:35] [JV]

An impressive debut of the ensemble Cinquecento: unknown repertoire, splendid performances ... see Full Review

Anna Netrebko - Opera Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Gianni Schicchi 1. O mio babbino caro [2:47] Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) La traviata 2. Libiamo ne’ lieti calici (Brindisi) [3:09] Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841–1904) Rusalka 3. Mĕsíčku na nebi hlubokém (Sont to the Moon) [5:04] Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Manon 4. Suis-je gentile ainsi? … Obéissons, quand leur voix appelle [6:33] Giacomo PUCCINI La bohème 5. Quando men vo (Musetta’s Waltz) [2:39] Vincenzo BELLINI (1801–1835) La sonnambula 6. Ah! Non credea mirarti [4:48] 7. Ah! non giunge uman pensiero [2:36] Giuseppe VERDI La traviata 8. Parigi, o cara [4:24] Charles GOUNOD (1818–1893) Faust 9. Les grands seigneurs … Ah! je ris de me voir si belle (Jewel Song) [6:24] Giuseppe VERDI La traviata 10. È strano! … Ah, fors’è lui … Follie! [4:53] 11. Sempre libera [3:35] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Don Giovanni 12. Crudele? … Non mi dir, bell’idol mio [6:34] Giuseppe VERDI La traviata 13. Un di felice, eterea … Ah, se ciò è ver [3:37] Vincenzo BELLINI La sonnambula 14. Elvino! E me tu lasci senza un tenero addio? … Sono geloso del zefiro errante [8:49] Giuseppe VERDI Otello 15. Ave Maria [5:11] Bonus Track: Vincenzo BELLINI I Capuleti e I Montecchi 16. Eccomi … Oh! quante volte [3:48] Anna Netrebko (soprano) Rolando Villazón (tenor) (2, 8, 13); Saimir Pirgu (tenor) (6, 7, 11); Joseph Calleja (tenor) (14); Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor (2, 4), Coro Sinfonico di Milano Giuseppe Verdi (6, 7), Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Claudio Abbado (1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16), Wiener Philharmoniker/Carlo Rizzi (2, 8, 13), Gianandrea Noseda (3-5, 9, 12), The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Carlo Rizzi (14) rec. Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna, March 2003 (3-5, 9, 12);t Teatro Municipale Valli, Reggio Emilia, February and March 2004 (1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16); All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London, May 2005 (14), Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburg, August 2005 Song texts and English translations included DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6344 [75:28][GF]

I can’t believe anybody buying this disc on impulse will be anything but overwhelmed … some of the best singing that can be heard today. ... see Full Review

Oboe+: Berio & Beyond Christopher REDGATE (b. 1956) '……sting of the bee' (2006) [5:30] Roger REDGATE (b. 1958) 'Ausgangspunkte' (1982) [11:26] Michael YOUNG (b. 1968) 'Argrophylax' (2004) [19:37] Michael FINISSY (b. 1946) 'Pavasiya' (1981) [14:35] Sam HAYDEN (b. 1968) 'Recoil' (2001) [9:33] Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) 'Sequenza VII' (1969) [8:00] Christopher Redgate (oboe; oboe d'amore) Roger Redgate (violin) Julian Warburton (percussion) rec. Coombehurst Studio, Kingston University, London, 13-15 July 2006. OBOE CLASSICS CC2015 [68:58] [JWi]

Hardcore modernism, played with considerable virtuosity ... see Full Review

Over the Water: Music for Recorder and String Orchestra Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911–1968) Partita for recorder and string orchestra Op.13b (1939, orch. 1954) [10:00] Gordon CROSSE (b. 1937) Watermusic for recorder and string orchestra (1982, orch. 1988) [10:31] Arthur BUTTERWORTH (b. 1923) Rêverie Rêverie ('Farewell Manchester') op.113a for recorder, harp and string orchestra (2000, orch. 2005) [3:43] Anthony HOPKINS (b. 1921) Suite for recorder, string orchestra and harp (1952, orch. 2006) [6:07] Francis JACKSON (b. 1917) Moonrise for recorder and string orchestra (1999, orch. 2004) [5:07] Arnold COOKE (1906–2005) Divertimento for recorder and string orchestra (1959) [9:53] Michael HURD (1928–2006) Three-Piece Suite for recorder and string orchestra (2004) [4:39] Anthony HEDGES (b. 1931) Three Miniatures for recorder, strings, harp and percussion (2004, orch. 2005) [7:57] Elis PEHKONEN (b. 1942) Concerto “Over the Water” for recorder and string orchestra (2004) [18:15] John Turner (recorder) Louise Thomson (harp), Janet Fulton (percussion) Manchester Camerata Ensemble/Philip Mackenzie rec. Hallam Hall, Stockport Grammar School, 13-14 July 2006. DDD This recording is affectionately dedicated to the memory of David Munrow, on the thirtieth anniversary of his death premiere recordings DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7191 [77:09] [HC][RB]

Genuinely pleasurable listening. I bet that you will end-up whistling some of the tunes [HC] ... Atmospheric, chilly and cheerful ... likely to appeal to anyone who enjoys Malcolm Arnold [RB] ... see Full Review

The Oxford Psalms William LAWES (1602-1645) The Lamentation: O Lord, in thee is all my trust [05:17] Psalm LI/2: Cast me not, Lord [05:47] Matthew LOCKE (c.1623-1677) In the beginning, O Lord [02:29] Jeremiah CLARKE (c1674-1707) Blest be those sweet Regions [04:25] anon Miserere [01:47] William LAWES Psalm XVIII/1: O God my strength and fortitude [05:48] Psalm VI: Lord, in thy wrath [05:43] John BLOW (1648-1708) As on Euphrates' shady banks [04:57] anon/Christopher SIMPSON (c.1605/6-1669), arr K-M Ng A Ground for ye Harpsicord [03:42] William CHILD (1606/7-1697) The First Set of Psalmes of III Voyces (extr) [06:56] Psalm II: Why doth the Heathen so furiously rage Psalm X: Why standest thou for far off Psalm XI: In the Lord I put my trust Psalm IX: I Will give thanks unto Thee Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Since God so tender Frances WITHY (c.1645-1727) Divisions in F [05:41] George JEFFREYS (c.1610-1685) Praise the Lord, O my soule [03:57] Henry PURCELL Blessed is he that considereth the poor [05:34] Albertus BRYNE (c.1621-1668) Voluntary [01:58] Matthew LOCKE Let God arise [01:25] William LAWES The humble suite of a sinner: O Lord, of whom I do depend [06:54] Gloria Patri et Filio [02:43] Charivari Agréable (Rodrigo Del Pozo, Simon Beston (tenor), Nicholas Perfect (bass), Susanne Heinrich (bass viol, consort bass), Richard Sweeney (theorbo), Kah-Ming Ng (harpsichord, organ))/Kah-Ming Ng rec. 22–24 August 2006, St Andrew's Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire UK. DDD SIGNUM RECORDS SGCD093 [78:28][JV]

English sacred repertoire written for domestic use, showing the growing influence of the Italian style in England - splendid performances by one of the most versatile ensembles on the early music scene ... see Full Review

Evelina Puzaite - Moments Musicaux Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Dances of Marosszek (1930) [12:41]Mikalojus Konstantinas ČIURLIONIS (1875-1911) Prelude Op. 12 No. 1 [1:51]; Prelude VL 241 [1:02]; Prelude VL 187 [1:81]; Prelude VL 298 (Impromptu) [0:45]; Mazurka Op. 3 No. 3 [1:33]Franz LISZT (1811-1866) Trois Études de Concert S.144 [23:31]Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Moments Musicaux Op. 16 [31:52] Evelina Puzaite (piano) rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 22-24 January 2007 LANDOR RECORDS LAN281 [75:14] [JS]

Ms Puzaite shows obvious abilities and promise, and has produced a debut album which is thoroughly enjoyable in itself. I look forward to future recordings ... see Full Review

Red Army Ensemble Song of Youth (words and music: Isaak Dunayevsky) [2:19] A birch tree in a field did stand (trad. Russian) 1 [3:27] Far Away (Georgi Nosov) 2 [4:41] You are always beautiful (Boris Mokrousov) 2 [3:38] Kalinka (trad. Russian) 2 [4:17] Along Peter’s Street (trad. Russian) 3 [3:08] Bandura (trad. Ukrainian) (sung in Ukrainian) 4 5 [4:41] Soldiers’ Chorus (from The Decembrists; words: V. Rozhdestvensky, music: Yuri Shaporin) [3:30] Beautiful Moonlit Night (trad. Ukranian) 2 [3:56] Kamarinskaya (trad. Russian) (instrumental) 6 [3:37] Annie Laurie (words attrib: William Douglas, music: Lady John Scott) (sung in English) 2 [4:36] Black Eyebrows (trad. Ukranian) (sung in Ukranian) 4 [4:27] Ukranian Poem (words: O. Kolichev; music: A.V. Alexandrov) 3 [6:16] Oh no, John! (trad. English) (sung in English) 7 [2:02] Song of the Plains (Meadowland) (words: V. Gusev; music: L.K.Knipper) [2:53] Snowflakes (trad. Russian) 1 [2:44] Song of the Volga Boatmen (trad. Russian) 7 [3:27] Nut-Brown Maiden (Anatoly Novikov) 4 8 * [2:51] The Little Bells (trad. Russian) 8 [3:29] If I had a hammer (words: Lee Hays; music: Pete Seeger) 3 [2:52] It’s a long way to Tipperary (words & music: Jack Judge & Harry Williams) (sung in English) 9 [2:38] God Save the Queen (sung in English) [1:16] 1 I.  Didenko (tenor) 2 Evgeny Balaiaev (tenor) 3 Aleksei Sergeiev (bass) 4 I. Savchuk (tenor) 5 V. Federov (bass) 6 E. Foektistov (balalaika) 7 Artur Eizen (bass) 8 Nikolay Abramov (tenor) 9 K. Gerasimov (baritone) Soviet Army Chorus and Soviet Army Band/Col. Boris Alexandrov (artistic director and principal conductor) Lieut. Col. Konstantin Vinogradov (principal chorus master and conductor) Maj. Vladimir Alexandrov (orchestral director and conductor) rec. No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London,  24, 25, 27 July 1956; 8 March 1963. AAD mono/stereo. *Mono No texts/translations provided EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3 92031 2 [77:24][DM/RB]

Hats off to EMI for issuing this most entertaining collection [DM]; A novelty GROC heavy with 1950s and 1960s nostalgia. Testimony to the lively imaginative acumen of the EMI Classics team [RB] ... see Full Review

Restored To Glory - Birmingham Town Hall George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) transc. Marcel Dupré/Thomas Trotter Organ Concerto No 16 in F [10:07] Sir George THALBEN-BALL (1896-1987) Variations on a theme by Paganini for pedals [7:34] Elegy [4:49] W.T. BEST (1826-1897) Concert Fantasia on a Welsh March (Men of Harlech) [11:06] John IRELAND (1879-1962) Villanella [3:56] Georges BIZET (1838-1875) transc. Lemare Carmen Suite [11:31] Edwin LEMARE (1865-1934) Andantino in D flat major [4:05] Rondo Capriccio (A Study in Accents) [3:36] Concertstück (Concert Piece in the form of a Polonaise) [7:21] Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) transc. Lemare Rienzi Overture [11:48] Thomas Trotter (organ) Rec. Birmingham Town Hall, 28-29 July 2007. DDD REGENT REGCD265 [75:44] [CB]

Brilliant playing, organ misleadingly documented ... see Full Review

Santander International Music Festival 2006 Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) “ Montañesa” from Four Spanish Pieces (1909) (arranged by Cándido Alegría (1887-1976)) [5:34] Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto de Aranjuez (1938-9) [25:01] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1871-1943) Symphony No 2 in E Minor Op 27 (1907) [60:01] Maria Esther Gusmán (guitar) Royal Orchestra of Seville/Pedro Halffter rec. live, Palacio de Festivales, Santander, 10 August 2006 RTVE MUSICA 65272 [31:21 + 61:26] [JS]

An enjoyable concert when heard live, and that the performances are never less than competent and at times much more than that but I cannot recommend them for repeated listening ... see Full Review

Thomas Schippers Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No.5 in B flat major, Op.100 [43:55] Philharmonia Orchestra/Thomas Schippers rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 11-14 May 1957 Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L'assedio di Corinto Overture [9:39] London Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Schippers rec. All Saints Church, Tooting, London, 30-31 July, 1-28 August 1974 Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Sinfonia "al Santo Sepolcro" in B minor, R169 [7:03] Francesco DURANTE (1684-1755) Concerto No.5 for String Orchestra in A major [8:49] Antonio SALIERI (1750-1825) Axur, re d'Ormus Overture [3:16] Orchestra Alessandro Scarlatti/Thomas Schippers rec. Naples, July 1955 MEDICI MASTERS MM012-2 [72:54][EMc]

A fascinating memento of a talent cut short too soon. … real musicality and real individuality ... see Full Review

Peter Seiffert - Italian Opera Arias Umberto GIORDANO (1867–1948) Fedora: 1. Amor ti vieta [1:50] Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Don Pasquale: 2. Com’è gentil [4:07] L’Elisir d’amore: 3. Una furtive lagrima [4:57] Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Gianni Schicchi: 4. Avete torto! … Firenze è come un albero fiorito [3:12] Francesco CILEA (1866–1950) Adriana Lecouvreur: 5. La dolcissima effigie [2:13]; 6. L’anima ho stanca [2:02] Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Il trovatore: 7. Di quella pira  [1:59] Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834–1886) La Gioconda: 8. Cielo e mar! [4:40] Umberto GIORDANO Andrea Chenier: 9. Colpito qui m’aveta … Un di all’azzurro spazio [5:40] Giuseppe VERDI Aida: 10. Se quell guerrier io fossi … Celeste Aida [4:57] Giacomo PUCCINI Turandot: 11. Nessun dorma [3:56] La Bohème: 12. Che gelida manina [5:19] Pietro MASCAGNI (1863–1945) Cavalleria rusticana: 13. Mamma, quel vino è generoso [4:54] Peter Seiffert (tenor), Chorus (2, 7, 11) and Orchestra of Deutsche Oper Berlin/Ralf Weikert rec. 15-21 May 1993, Christuskirche, Berlin-Oberschöneweide Texts and translations included EMI CLASSICS 55010 [49:51] [GF]

Competition is formidable in this repertoire but Seiffert stands up well against many of his rivals. His nuanced, tasteful and well considered readings are attractive ... see Full Review

Cesare Siepi Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Ernani: 1. Infelice! e tu credevi [3:39] Nabucco: 2. Tu sul labbro dei veggenti [4:54] Arrigo BOITO (1842–1918) Mefistofele: 3. So lo Spirito che nega [3:07] Giuseppe VERDI I vespri Siciliani: 4. O tu, Palermo [4:18] Don Carlo: 5. Ella giammai m’amo! [8:12] Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834–1886) La Gioconda: 6. Si, morir ella de’ [4:38] Vincenzo BELLINI (1801–1835) La sonnambula: 7. Vi ravviso [3:03] Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792–1868) L’Italiana in Algeri: 8. Le femmine d’Italia [3:22] Il barbiere di Siviglia: 9, La calunnia [4:22] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Don Giovanni: 10. Deh vieni alla finestra [2:16] Paolo TOSTI (1846–1916) 11. L’ultima canzone [4:41] 12. Non t’amo più [4:46] 13. Malia [3:08] Luigi DENZA (1846–1922) 14. Occhi di fata [3:23] Paolo TOSTI 15. Serenata [3:17] Augusto ROTOLI (1847–1904) 16. Mi sposa sara la mia bandiera [4:56] Renato BROGEI (1873–1924) 17. Visione Veneziana [3:34] Vincenzo BILLI (1869–1938) 18. E canta il grillo [3:12] Cesare Siepi (bass)
Orchestra Sinfonica Radio Italiana/Arturo Basile (1-6); unknown (7, 9, 10); Alfredo Simonetto (8), remaining items unknown rec. 1947-1948 NIMBUS Prima Voce NI 7942 [72:59] [GF]

There have been few better basses around during the last sixty years and hearing Cesare Siepi in his mature youth is a treat indeed. ... see Full Review

Soavi accenti Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Zefiro torna [06:22] Ch'iome d'oro [03:17] Lamento della ninfa [06:12] Dario CASTELLO (c.1590-c.1630) Sonata XII per due soprani e trombone [07:37] Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674) Apritevi, inferni, cantata [08:49] Dario CASTELLO Sonata XI per due violini e trombone [05:30] Giacomo CARISSIMI Vanitas Vanitatum, oratorio [18:08] Claudio MONTEVERDI Tempro la cetra* [09:42] Harmony of Voices (Vokalharmonin) (Ulla-Carin Börjesdotter (soprano), Lena-Susanne Norin (mezzosoprano), Leif Aruhn-Solén, Johan Linderoth (tenor), Ove Petterson (bass), Ann Wallström, Stefan Lindvall (violin), Joel Sundin, Rastko Roknic (viola*), David Gammelgård (cello), Mattias Frostenson (violone), Anders Ericson (theorbo, guitar), Karl Nyhlin (archlute*), Fredrik Malmberg (harpsichord, organ))/Fredrik Malmberg rec. October 2006, Hölö Church, Sweden. DDD PROPRIUS PRSACD 2037 [65:51][JV]

The brilliance and the emotional character of the repertoire is well communicated by this Swedish ensemble ... see Full Review

Henryk Szeryng Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - concertos for violin, strings and basso continuo Op. 8 (1723) Nos. 1-4 (from Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione) (1. Spring, in E major, RV 269; 2. Summer, in G minor, RV 315; 3. Autumn, in F major RV 293; 4. Winter, in F minor, RV 297) [40:03] Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra in A minor RV522 - Allegro [4:14] * Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K216 (1775) [25:40] English Chamber Orchestra/Henryk Szeryng (violin and director) José Luis Garcia (violin) * rec. live, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 26 February 1972 BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4210-2 [71:28][JW]

Szeryng’s playing is fresh and persuasive. The legato freedoms are certainly romanticist in orientation but they lavish great depth. His great naturalness of phrasing is one of his greatest gifts as an elite Mozart player. ... see Full Review

Thomas Viloteau: Guitar Recital Miguel LLOBET (1878-1938) Variaciónes sobre un tema de Sor, Op. 15 (1908) [7:43] Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) Cavatina (1952): (I. Preludio [3:30]; II. Sarabande [3:03]; III. Scherzino [2:40]; IV. Barcarole [3:28]) Leo BROUWER (b. 1939) Rito de los Orishas (1993): (I. Exordium-conjuro [4:44]; II. Danza de las diosas negras [9:31]) Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Guitar Sonata, Op. 47 (1976): (I. Esordio [3:40]; II. Scherzo [3:00]; III. Canto [3:56]; IV. Finale [2:27]) Roland DYENS (b. 1955) Triaela (2001-2002): (I. Light Motif (Takemitsu au Brésil) [3:37]; II. Black Horn (When Spain meets Jazz) [4:33]; III. Clown Down (Gismonti au cirque) [5:05]) Thomas Viloteau (guitar) rec. 3-6 May 2007, St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada NAXOS LAUREATE SERIES 8.570510 [60:57][DM]

Viloteau is a prodigious talent. Definitely one to watch. ... see Full Review

Travels with my Lute Luis MILAN (c.1500–after 1561) Fantasia; Pavana Alonso MUDARRA (c.1508–1580) Fantasia Luys DE NARVAEZ (c.1500–after 1550) Mille regrez; Un baxa de contrapuncto Antonio DE CABEZON (1510–1566) Differencias Francesco SPINACINO (?–after 1507) Recercare Francesco DE MILANO (1497–1543) 2 Ricercari Simone MOLINARO (c. 1567–c. 1615) Fantasia XV; Fantasi I John DOWLAND (1562–1626) What if a day; The Right Honorable Earl of Essex his Galliard; Fantasia William BRADE (1570–1630) Des Rotschencken Tantz Johannes Hieronymus KAPSBERGER (c. 1575–c. 1661) Toccata VI; Gagliarda III Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Preludium; Gavotte en Rondeau Silvius Leopold WEISS (1686–1750) Passacaille Carl Friedrich ABEL (1723–1787) Arpeggio Norbert BURGMULLER (1810–1836) La Chevaleresque Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918) La fille au Cheveux de lin Arr. Sven BERGER (b.1938) Sa Som stjarnan; Springlat fran Lima Gaspar SANZ (1640–1710) / Santiago DE MURZIA (late 17th century) Marizapalos Ryosuke Sakamoto (Renaissance lute) rec. 10–13 August 2005, Dala-Jarna Church, Dalarna MUSICA REDIVIVA MRCD013 [62.57] [RH]

Sakamoto has a strong technique and much promise. I look forward to hearing more from him when he matures and develops ... see Full Review

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Over a period of three years from December 2003, I have spent a lot of time in the company of Harry Partch – not literally, of course, as he died in 1974, but working my way though an article and some eight reviews that can all be found on MusicWeb. Then, at the MusicWeb annual lunch (January 2007), the name of John Cage caught my ear. For reasons that my subconscious was not prepared to divulge, my curiosity was tickled. Partch and Cage have on occasion been paired off, as a sort of American "Debussy and Ravel" – was there any real connection between them?

This may come as a bit of an anticlimax but, other than them both being American originals with "far-out" ideas, I can’t really think of one. In fact, they are more on the lines of diametric opposites: with my tongue ever-so-slightly in my cheek, I could say that Partch was a seminal genius who got branded as a crackpot, and Cage was a crackpot who got branded as a seminal genius.

John Cage (1912-92) was nothing if not controversial. With his rise to prominence, an obliging World split into two opposing camps. His supporters saw him as a prime mover in the fields of experimental and electronic music, with abiding interests in "chance music", new ways of using traditional instruments, and practical application of his Zen Buddhist beliefs.

His detractors, the more radical of whom would have preferred the "nothing" option, complained that he just made a lot of silly noise, did unspeakable things to the private parts of otherwise perfectly respectable musical instruments, and came up with a load of airy-fairy claptrap to justify his bizarre buffoonery.

Partch, who was renowned for his considered and candid conclusions, didn’t have too high an opinion of Cage: "When he was younger, I found him rather charming, albeit shallow. Then later, when he was famed for the opening of doors to musical insight, I found myself obliged to use the word ‘charlatan’ . . . Pretty sounds do not necessarily make significant music, and serious words frequently cloak hokum . . . I’m all for common sounds as valid materials [but] one has to have control, so that his common sounds will mean something. . . I feel that anyone who brackets me with Cage is bracketing actual music with metaphysical theories, and what I think is a serious effort with exhibitionism." [Letter to Ben Johnston, 1952, reproduced in Innova Enclosure 3]

Who is right – the "pro" camp or the "anti"? You tell me. The only opinions I can voice with any certainty are that Cage was not really a crackpot – even if he did give that impression to his detractors – and in all probability he caused the expenditure of as much hot air as all the other Twentieth Century composers put together.

For instance, during the late 1960s, when I was a university student, Cage was a hot topic for many an informal debate over a pint or six of a Saturday night in the pub. It’s true, I swear! Granted, we also debated rather coarser matters, interspersed with lots of "rugby songs", but there was no two ways about it – in those heady days, Cage was about as "right on" and as "far out, man" as you could get.

It was even possible – but only just – for intense arguments over Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds to distract our juvenile minds from contemplating the aesthetics of passing bits of mini-skirt! Yet, no matter how much the said work of art – if that’s how you choose to define it – resonated with the mood of the Sixties, it’s as well to remember that it was written quite a while earlier, in 1952, while the hippy generation was just learning to manage without nappies!

4’33", as much as anything, fuelled the long-running furore over the definition of "music", a lot of the argument being similar to a much earlier debate amongst mathematicians, over whether "0", being "nothing", could be counted as a number. For those odd few who don’t already know, 4’33" is the work where the pianist lifts the keyboard lid, sits perfectly still for a while, then shuts the lid – the cue, I presume, for a storm of applause.

Apparently, the idea for the piece resulted from a visit to an anechoic chamber. Cage, never particularly conventional in his approach to music, explained that he wanted to hear what silence "sounded" like. Really? And here am I, expecting that he was at the very least hoping to establish conclusively, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Mind you, that’s always struck me a daft question – shouldn’t you first ask, "Is it possible for one hand to clap?"

Anyway, Cage was surprised to find that he didn’t hear "nothing". Instead he heard the real sound of his blood pumping and the virtual sounds generated by his own auditory system. Thus, having realised the impossibility of complete silence, at least in the ears of the perceiver, he fashioned 4’33" supposedly to demonstrate that fact to the rest of us. Presumably, he wasn’t aware that Smetana, to the ultimate cost of his sanity, had already answered that one.

Whatricsson. I wish I had their stamina.

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