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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
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[Recommended recordings]

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Manchester Accents Terence GREAVES (b.1933), Anthony GILBERT (b.1934), Walter CARROLL (1869-1955)/Eric FOGG (1903-1939), John McCABE (b.1939), Thomas PITFIELD (1903-1999), John MANDUELL (b.1928), James LANGLEY (1927-1994) Northern Chamber Orchestra/Nicholas Ward
rec. St. Thomas Church, Stockport, 30-31 October 2000. ASC RECORDS ASC CS CD45 [68:39] [DC]

Shed a tear for lost worlds, or celebrate a genuine revival - not to be missed. ... see Full Review

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

A catch for collectors ... see Full Review

Rafael Aguirre Minarro: Guitar Recital Rafael Aguirre Minarro (guitar) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572064 [63.23][ZT]

A well-balanced programme;  strong technique and musicianship ... see Full Review

David Oistrakh – The Complete EMI Recordings David Oistrakh (violin); Various accompanists rec. 1953-71 EMI CLASSICS 2147122 [17 CDs: 70:15 + 69:58 + 74:47 + 78:50 + 65:56 + 73:39 + 65:54 + 72:08 + 74:29 + 76:31 + 52:46 + 60:06 + 71.25 + 71:19 + 67.42 + 70:07 + 60:14][JW] 

A cornerstone collection by the most admirable of violinists ... see Full Review

Opera and Ballet Favourites Excerpts from Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Snow Maiden, The Nutcracker, None but the Lonely Heart, The Queen of Spades, Iolanta 1812 Overture Anastasia The Sleeping Beauty Eugene Onegin Sergey RAKHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vocalise, Aleko Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Sadko Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohème Placido Domingo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Kiri te Kanawa, Anna Tomowa-Sintow,Darcey Bussell, Irek Mukhamedov, Royal Opera House O/Stephen Barlow; Placido Domingo; Edward Downes; Barry Wordsworth rec. live 1993 OPUS ARTE OAR3110D [137:00] [ST]

Musically speaking this disc is very good ... see Full Review

René Pape - Gods, Kings & Demons René Pape (bass); Staatsopernchor Dresden Staatskapelle Dresden/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4776408 [65:36][GF]

An outright winner ... see Full Review

Pianistes Françaises Aimée Marie Roger-Miclos (piano) Fonotipia recordings c. 1905; Marie Panthès (piano) Columbia recordings 1934-36; Youra Guller rec. 1956; Madeleine de Valmalète (piano) recording date unknown; Agnelle Bundervoët (piano) rec. 1954-7 TAHRA TAH653-654 [67:54 +74:24][JW]

An undertaking of real value and virtue ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Artur Rubinstein Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata 23 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Intermezzo 2 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballade 1, Etude Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Hungarian Rhapsody Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) O polichinelo rec. live, 1963 MEDICI ARTS MM029-2 [80:45] [JW]

I can’t recall a live performance by Rubinstein to equal it ... see Full Review

Stokowski Georges ENESCO (1881–1955) Rumanian Rhapsodies Nos.1 & 2 Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918) Nocturnes Igor STRAVINSKY (1882–1971) Firebird Suite Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Ride of the Valkyries All–American Youth Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1941-53 CALA CACD0549 [75:38][BBr]

Impossible to believe these were made over 50 years ago ... see Full Review

Evgeny Svetlanov Edition Alexander BORODIN, Alexander GLAZUNOV, Alexander DARGOMIZHSKY , Mily BALAKIREV, Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, Sergei RACHMANINOV, Sergei LYAPUNOV, Anatol LIADOV, Anton RUBINSTEIN, Mikhail GLINKA, Eduard NÁPRAVNÍK, Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY, Anton ARENSKY, Nicolai MIASKOVSKY, Boris PARSADANIAN, Alexandra PAKHMUTOVA, Arkady MAZAEV, Rostislav BOIKO, Halik ZAIMOV, Evgeny SVETLANOV,Alexei MURAVLEV USSR State Symphony Orchestra Grand Symphony Orchestra of TV and Radio Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra Evgeny Svetlanov Rec.1954 -1992
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9001 [10 CDs: 73:20 + 69:51 + 76:08 + 75:48 + 71:51 + 67:25 + 73:34 + 75:23 + 68:49 + 76:54] [JW]

Coruscating and winning … some outstanding things here ... see Full Review

The Art of George Szell – Previously Unissued Concerts 1943-1957 Volumes 1 & 2 New York P-SO, Cleveland O/George Szell WEST HILL RADIO ARCHIVES WHRA6018 & [4 CDs: 290:30] & WHRA6019 [4 CDs: 298:42] [JW]

All-round excellence in performances just that bit more athletic ... see Full Review

Tombeau pour Mr de Ste Colombe et autres portraits Works by Sainte Colombe, Marais, Forqueray, Rameau, Denis & Ennemond Gautier Ensemble Spirale, Violaine Cochard (harpsichord))/Marianne Muller rec. 2007 ZIGZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT080302 [69:09] [JV]

A fine collection of musical portraits in passionate and gestural performances ... see Full Review

John Scott Whiteley plays organ music from York Minster The English Cathedral Series Vol. XV John Scott Whiteley (organ) rec. 2007 REGENT REGCD275 [73:55][ST]

Well done to all involved ... see Full Review

Liping Zhang (soprano) Arias Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I vespri Siciliani - Mercè, dilette amiche; Il Trovatore - Timor di me? ... D'amor sull'ali rosee; Il Corsaro - Egli non riede ancora...non so le tetre immagini; La Traviata - È strano! è strano!...Sempre libera Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma - Casta Diva Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Vissi d'arte; Madama Butterfly - Un bel di, vedremo; La Rondine - Chi il bel sogno di Doretta Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Lucia di Lammermoor - Il dolce suono mi colpi Liping Zhang (soprano) Prague PO/Giordano Bellicampi rec. 2008 EMI CLASSICS 2372502 [52:20] [RJF]

Despite short measure, a warm welcome to this debut recital ... see Full Review

 

CHRISTMAS DISCS

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Weihnachtskantaten (Christmas Cantatas)Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern BWV 1 (1725) [21:32] Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 61 (1714) [15:45] Dazu ist erscheinen der Sohn Gottes BWV 40* (1723) [16:26] Arleen Auger (soprano); *Ortrun Wenkel (contralto); Peter Schreier (tenor); Siegfried Lorenz (bass) Thomanerchor Leipzig; Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum/Hans-Joachim Rotzch rec. dates and venues not specified BERLIN CLASSICS BASICS 0149262BC [53:42] [JQ]

Well-turned performances under one of Bach’s successors in Leipzig ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio Elly Ameling, Dame Janet Baker, Robert Tear, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Choir of King’s College, Cambridge ASMF/Sir Philip Ledger rec. 1976 EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 2176252 [77:46 + 76:38] [JQ]

A performance that will give much pleasure ... see Full Review

CHRISTMAS ORATORIOS Gottfried August HOMILIUS (1714 - 1785) Weihnachtsoratorium Gottfried August HOMILIUS Die Freude der Hirten über die Geburth Jesu (Weihnachtsoratorium) (HoWV I,1) [41:39] Christian August JACOBI (1688 - after 1725) Der Himmel steht uns wieder offen, cantata for tenor, choir and orchestra [16:20] Christiane Kohl (soprano), Annette Markert (contralto), Marcus Ullmann (tenor), Tobias Berndt (bass) Sächsisches Vocalensemble, Virtuosi Saxoniae/Ludwig Güttler rec. 2007. DDD CARUS 83.235 [58:22] [JV]

Christmas repertoire, but the enjoyment is spoilt by less than ideal performances ... see Full Review

Reinhard KEISER (1674-1739) Dialogues von der Geburt Christi (1707) [30:52] Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760)
Magnificat in C (1722) [14:08] Rastatter Hofkapelle/Jürgen Ochs rec. 2008 CARUS 83.417 [45:00] [JW]

Christmas spirit and trumpet-proud ... see Full Review

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-92) La Nativité du Seigneur (1935) [62:55] Le Banquet Céleste (1928) [6:55] Apparition de l’Église Éternelle (1932) [10:00] Jennifer Bate (organs of Beauvais Cathedral and Sainte Trinité) rec. St Pierre de Beauvais Cathedral, August 1980 (Nativité and Apparition) and Sainte Trinité, Paris, no date – 1987?) (Banquet).  DDD. REGIS RRC1086 [71:50] [BW]

An excellent and timely reminder of the power of Messiaen’s music ... see Full Review

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639-1682) Cantata for Christmas Eve: Si apra al riso ogni labro [26:39] Sinfonia in A major [5:49] Sinfonia in F major [11:37] Cristina Miatello (soprano); Caterina Calvi (contralto); Roberto Abbondanza (bass) La Magnifica Comunità/Enrico Casazza rec. Chiesa della Santissima Trinità, Pernumia, Italy, 1999. DDD Booklet notes in English. Texts provided but no translations. BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93367 [51:18] [DW]

Unfortunately, the poor quality of the vocal contributions makes this a non-starter … see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Nutcracker - ballet in two acts (1891-2) San Francisco Ballet San Francisco Ballet Orchestra/Martin West choreography by Helgi Tomasson rec. live, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, 19, 21 December 2007 OPUS ARTE DVD OA 1002 D [13:00] [IL,GL]

Truly magical.  The ideal family Christmas present. ... see Full Review

A un niño llorando. Christmas with Quink Vocal Ensemble
Quink Vocal Ensemble (Marjon Strijk (soprano); Mariëtte Oelderik (soprano); Elsbeth Gerritsen (alto); Harry van der Berne (tenor); Kees Jan de Koning (bass)) rec. 2008 Original language texts and English translations included CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72306 [64:40]

A nicely varied programme of Christmas music. ... see Full Review

A Christmas Festival Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano); Clara Sanabras (soprano); Melanie Marshall (mezzo); The Cambridge Singers; Farnham Youth Choir; John Birch (organ) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/John Rutter rec. April 2008, Cadogan Hall, London. Organ rec. June 2008 in the Royal Albert Hall, London. DDD Original texts and English translations included COLLEGIUM COLCD 133 [73:15] [JQ]

A varied Christmas offering from John Rutter ... see Full Review

Christmas Concertos and Cantatas Francesco MANFREDINI (1684 - 1762) Concerto grosso Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660 - 1725) Cantata pastorale Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741) Concerto for violin Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) In dulci jubilo Arcangelo CORELLI (1653 - 1713) Concerto grosso Collegium Musicum 90/Simon Standage rec. 1998 CHANDOS CHAN0754 X [62:10] [JV]

Look elsewhere ... see Full Review

Assisi - Christmas Cantatas Ruth Ziesak (soprano), Ingeborg Danz (contralto), Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet) L'Arte del Mondo/Werner Ehrhardt rec. 2008 PHOENIX EDITION 149 [67:31] [JV]

An important and interesting addition to the catalogue of Christmas music ... see Full Review

Advent Carols from St. John’s The Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge/Christopher Robinson James Martin (organ) rec. Chapel of St. John’s College, Cambridge, 18-20 March, 19 July 1994. DDD NIMBUS NI 5414 [77:25] [CT]

Evocative and beautifully sung ... see Full Review

Celtic Christmas Emma Christian (vocal, celtic harp), Arthur Cormack (vocal), Colin McAllister (vocal, bodhran), Julie Murphy (vocal), Robin Huw Bowen (welsh triple harp), Pete Cooper (fiddle, viola), Steafan Hannigan (irish pipes, bodhran, flute), Ceri Rhys Matthews (welsh and breton bagpipes, cittern, chanter), Dougie Pincock (scottish highland pipes, scottish small pipes, bodhran), Dave Townsend (concertina, accordion, vocal). rec. Valley Recordings, Littleton-on-Severn, November 1995/March 1996 SAYDISC CD-SDL 417 [73:41] [EM]

Just slightly hard-going ... see Full Review

Christmas from Gloucester: See Amid The Winter Snow Gloucester Cathedral Choir/John Sanders Mark Lee (organ) rec. Gloucester Cathedral, January 1991. DDD English texts included
GRIFFIN GCCD 4066 [58:00] [JQ]

This very good recital of seasonal music is most enjoyable ... see Full Review

Christmas from Truro Truro Cathedral Choir/Robert Sharpe Christopher Gray (organ) rec. Truro Cathedral, 28-29 January 2008 REGENT REGCD281 [65:03] [JF]

All in all, this a fine production that both inspires and impresses.... see Full Review

A Christmas Caroll from Westminster Abbey The Choir of Westminster Abbey/James O’Donnell * Robert Quinney (organ) rec. 2008. DDD Original language texts and English translations included HYPERION CDA67716 [63:34] [JQ]

A first rate Christmas compilation ... see Full Review

Christmas Now is Drawing Near Sneak's Noyse (Roddy Skeaping, Lucie Skeaping, Jeremy Barlow, Robin Jeffrey, Mike Brain) with Ray Attfield (voice, hurdy-gurdy, drum), Tim Laycock (voice, concertinas, melodeon) rec. 1988, DDD SAYDISC CD-SDL 371 [53:20] [JV]

Christmas carols as you probably haven't heard them before ... see Full Review

Christmas with the Palestrina Choir The Palestrina Choir, St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Dublin/Blánaid Murphy rec. 2008. Booklet with texts and translations. St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Hybrid SACD71812221361 [73:31] [BW]

Will appeal if you want the unusual items – otherwise, look elsewhere ... see Full Review

Christmas With The Tallis Scholars The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips. rec. c.1986-1998, The Church of St Peter and Paul, Salle, Norfolk and Merton College, Oxford. DDD. Booklet with texts and translations included. GIMELL CDGIM202 [78:08 + 78:34] [BW]

A very attractive collection of medieval and Tudor music ... see Full Review

Elizabethan Christmas Anthems Red Byrd; The Rose Consort of Viols rec. Forde Abbey, November, 1989. DDD. Booklet with notes but no texts. AMON RA CD-SAR46 [59:23] [BW][JV]

An excellent and varied selection, well performed and recorded – very enjoyable... see Full Review

Elizabethan Christmas Anthems Red Byrd; The Rose Consort of Viols rec. Forde Abbey, November, 1989. DDD. Booklet with notes but no texts. AMON RA CD-SAR46 [59:23] [RH

Shows its age but a charming Christmas present ... see Full Review

Folkjul – A Swedish Folk Christmas Sofia Karlsson (vocals) , Emma Härdelin (vocals) , Lisa Rydberg (violin) Gunnar Idenstam (organ) ; St Jacobs Kammarkör/Gary Graden rec. 2007, Texts and English translations enclosed BIS-NL-CD-5031 [63:58] [GF]

A refreshing Christmas disc, off the beaten track ... see Full Review

Machet die Tore weit - Baroque Christmas Cantatas from Central Germany Johann SCHELLE (1648-1701), Basilius PETRITZ (1647-1715), Philipp Heinrich ERLEBACH (1657-1714), Christian August JACOBI (1688- after 1725), Christian LIEBE (1654-1708), Johann Ernst BESSEL (1654-1732) Birte Kulawik (soprano I); Dorothea Wagner (soprano II); David Erler (contralto); Hans Jörg Mammel (tenor); Matthias Lutze (bass) Sächsisches Vocalensemble; Batzdorfer Hofkapell/Matthias Jung rec. Lukaskirche, Dresden, 8-11 June 2007. DDD German texts and English translations included CPO 777 332-2 [57:55] [JQ]

Most enjoyable unfamiliar music in sparkling performances. ... see Full Review

Old Christmas Return’d The York Waits, Robin Jeffrey (lute, guitar, cittern and theorbo), Richard Wistreich (voice)rec. Forde Abbey, nr Chard, Dorset, February 1992 SAYDISC CD-SDL 398 [50:50] [Em]

A joyful mixture of Christmas music and carols ... see Full Review

A Piano Christmas in the 1920s Andrei Kmita, Elsie Holt, Adam Carroll, Herbert Clair & Edgar Fairchild, Fritz Kreisler, John Tasker Howard, Pietro Yon, Leslie Loth (pianos) rec. 1920s LYRICHORD LYRCD6012 [61:53] [JW]

An enjoyable and unabashed collection ... see Full Review

The Spirit of Christmas Present BBC Welsh Chorus/John Hugh Thomas Fanfare Trumpeters of the Welsh Guards; Huw Tregelles Williams (organ) rec. no dates given. DDD NIMBUS NI 7034 [62:07] [CT]

A disappointing compilation of carols drawn from several previous Nimbus Christmas releases. ... see Full Review

A Tapestry of Carols Maddy Prior; The Carnival Band
rec. The Meeting House, Frenchay, Nr. Bristol, UK, February 1987. DDD. Booklet with notes but no texts. SAYDISC CD-SDL366 [51:05] [BW]

Something different from the usual carol collection ... see Full Review

Thys Yool: A Medieval Christmas Martin Best Ensemble/Martin Best rec. 1988. DDD. Ambisonic (UHJ encoded) Booklet includes Modern English translations but not original Middle English, French and Latin texts. NIMBUS NI5137 [64:07] [BW]

Unusual and varied repertoire attractively performed ... see Full Review

Thys Yool: A Medieval Christmas Martin Best Ensemble/Martin Best rec. 1988. DDD. Ambisonic (UHJ encoded) Booklet includes Modern English translations but not original Middle English, French and Latin texts. NIMBUS NI5137 [64:07] [Em]

A lovely disc ... see Full Review

 

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Roman Catholic Church Music in England, 1791 - 1914: A Handmaid of the Liturgy by Thomas E. Muir [RH]

Guilhermina Suggia: Cellist by Anita Mercier [MMB]

 


Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
[Part 1 New] [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
[Recommended recordings]


 



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