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[Click here for the most recent reviews (last five days)]
Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
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[Recommended recordings]


Price symbols (used in reviews from Friday 14th onwards)
Superbudget £5.99 or less Budget £6-7.99 Medium £8-10.99 Full price £11+

John CAGE (1912-1992) Thirteen, Four6, Four3 The Barton Workshop/James Fulkerson rec. 2002 MEGADISC MDC7799 [79:32] [DC]

The kind of disc which might change your mind about Cage ... see Full Review

Giuseppe Maria Gioacchino CAMBINI (1746-1825?) Quintets Nos. 1-3 Ensemble dell’Accademia rec. 2005 SYMPHONIA SY05219 [51:42][GPu]

Engaging music by a composer who, until recently, has rarely had much justice from posterity; anyone fond of chamber music for wind instruments should certainly hear this … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Georgy L'vovich CATOIRE (1861-1926) Violin Sonatas 1 & 2, Elegy for violin and piano Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Pièce en forme de habañera, Tzigane Herwig Zack (violin) Bernd Zack (piano) rec. 2007 AVIE AV2143 [67:49] [RB]

Another Milstein in the making ... music that is dramatic, fantastic, poetic ... see Full Review

Gustave CHARPENTIER (1860-1956) Impressions d’Italie (1891) [35:58] see Paysages

Erik CHISHOLM (1904-1965) Symphony No. 2 Ossian (1939) [34:18] Trevor HOLD (1939-2004) The Unreturning Spring – a song cycle to poems by James Farrar op. 3 (1961-63) [16:00] Eric FOGG (1903-1939) Sea-Sheen: an idyll op. 17 (1920) [4:41]; Merok (1929) [7:51] Ailish Tynan (soprano); Roderick Williams (baritone) (Hold) Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Martin Yates (Chisholm) BBC Concert Orchestra/Martin Yates (Hold); Gavin Sutherland (Sea-Sheen); Vernon Handley (Merok) rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 16 May 2007 (Chisholm); Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford, 5-6 June 2007 (Hold); 4 August 2005 (Sea-Sheen); 6 December 2005 (Merok). DDD world premiere recordings DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7196 [63:29] [RB]

Three fine and contrasted works … Delicacy, Northern pomp and poetry and sylvan magic ... see Full Review

Nigel CLARKE (b. 1960) Pernambuco, The Miraculous Violin, Loulan, Samurai, Premonitions, Black Fire Peter Sheppard Skaerved (violin), Band of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth rec. 2006/7 NAXOS 8.570429 [CR]

Unmissable ... see Full Review

Gloria COATES (b. 1938) Symphony No. 15; Cantata da Requiem, ‘WWII Poems for Peace’; Transitions Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Boder rec. 1985-2006 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559371 [59:12][DM]

A sound-world that positively explodes with imagination and brilliance ... see Full Review

Carson COOMAN (b. 1982) Piano Music Donna Amato (piano) rec. 2006 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559350 [76:42][DM]

A mixed selection and a mixed bag, too ... see Full Review

Gordon CROSSE (b. 1937) Purgatory - Opera in One Act (1966) [39:34] A Boy: Peter Bodenham, (tenor) An Old Man - Glenville Hargreaves, (baritone) Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Northern College of Music/Michael Lankester rec. February, August 1974, RNCM, Manchester. ADD first issued on LP in association with the British Council on LP ARGO ZRG818 in 1975. CD SINGLE LYRITA SRCD.313 [39:34] [RB]

This edgy, ruthless, creepy and mildly dissonant little Bergian two-hander ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Don Pasquale Claudio Desderi, Francisco Gatell, Laura Giordano, Ch & O Teatro Municipale Piacenza/Riccardo Muti rec. live 2006 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101303 [RJF]

Muti’s sympathetic and idiomatic baton combines with superb stage direction and period sets and costumes, to do full justice to Donizetti’s creation ... see Full Review

Guillaume DUFAY (1393–1474) Missa de S Anthonii de Padua; O proles Hispaniae The Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 1996 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55271 [54.27][RH]

I defy anyone to listen to this music and not want to tap their toes! ... see Full Review

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Rusalka Cheryl Barker, Rosario La Spina, Opera Australia Chorus, Australian Opera and Ballet O/Richard Hickox rec. live 2007 CHANDOS CHAN10449 [3 CDs] [CH]

Excellent, but not quite a match for Neumann’s Supraphon recording ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Froissart; Cello Concerto; Enigma Variations The Wand of Youth – Suites Nos. 1 & 2; The Starlight Express: Songs; Dream Children Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Welsh National Opera Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 1990-2 DECCA ELOQUENCE 4428280 [76:38 + 74:26][CH]

Some very fine Elgar interpretation, especially if you like to home in on the nostalgic side ... see Full Review

August ENNA (1859–1939) Heisse Liebe NDR Chor and NDR Radiophilharmonie/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2006 CPO 7772502 [59:38 + 38:47][GF]

No lost masterpiece but it is still good to have a recording and the second act has a great deal to offer ... see Full Review

Johann Friedrich FASCH (1688-1758) Passio Jesu Christi (The Passion of Jesus Christ) Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis; Capella Savaria Baroque Orchestra/Mary Térey-Smith rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570326 [71:24][BW]

Naxos again bring us a neglected but worthwhile work in a good performance, well recorded ... but errors in the libretto need to be put right ... see Full Review

Eric FOGG (1903-1939) Sea-Sheen: an idyll op. 17 (1920) [4:41]; Merok (1929) [7:51] ... see Chisholm Symphony 2

RECORDING OF THE MONTH César FRANCK (1822-1890) Complete Organ Works - Volume I Hans-Eberhard Ross rec. 2004/5 AUDITE 91.518 [2 CDs] [DM]

One hesitates to use the word ‘great’ but in this case nothing else will do ... see Full Review

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) Concerto for Violin and small Orchestra op. 11 (1950, rev. 1974) [23:25] David MORGAN (1933-1988) Violin Concerto (1966) [26:02] Don BANKS (1923-1980) Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1968) [26:55] Yfrah Neaman (violin) (Fricker; Banks) Erich Gruenberg (violin) (Morgan) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Norman Del Mar (Fricker; Banks); Vernon Handley (Morgan) rec. July 1973, All saints, Tooting, London (Fricker, Banks); 28 April 1976, Kingsway Hall, London (Morgan). ADD originally issued on LP: Argo ZRG 715 (Fricker, Banks); Lyrita SRCS97 (Morgan). LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD.276 [76:26] [RB]

A sometimes challenging, sometimes smiling collection of concertos otherwise lost to us ... see Full Review

Morten GAATHAUG (b. 1955) Musica da camera String Quartet 2, Six Songs to Poems by Jens Bjřrneboe, Piano Quintet Tore Dingstad, Ellen Ugelvik (piano) Per Anders Třnder (baritone) Ensemble Bjřrvika rec. 2007 2L 44 [JW]

I enjoyed my time with Gaathaug ... see Full Review

Roberto GERHARD (1896-1970) Symphony No. 4 ‘New York’ (1967) [26:04] Violin Concerto (1942-5) [34:03]* Yfrah Neaman (violin) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Colin Davis rec. 1972, London. ADD originally released as Decca Argo ZRG701 LYRITA SRCD.274 [60.10] [RB]

Music of dissonant discontinuity and conflagration ... see Full Review

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue; Cuban Overture; Variations on I Got Rhythm Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Ma mčre l’Oye; Les Sites auriculaires; Boléro Maurice RAVEL, attributed to F Dante Pilade “Fermo” Marchetti (1876–1940) arranged by Anthony Goldstone Fascination (Valse tzigane) Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow (two pianos and piano duet) rec. 1997 & 2007 DIVINE ART DDA25057 [74:02][BBr]

Joyous and infectious exuberance ... see Full Review

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Reflections Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico; Jean Paul van Spaendonk (singers)/ Elias Arizcuren rec. 2001 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0032 [56:32][PG]

Highlights both the compositional prowess of Glass and the virtuosity of the players ... see Full Review

Peder GRAM (1881-1956) Orchestral Works - vol. 2: Avalon; Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 Danish PO/Matthias Aeschbacher rec. 2007 DACAPO 8.224718 [64:58][RB]

Sylvan pantheism not lacking in vigour and rounded out with contentment ... see Full Review

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto; Ballade in G minor; Lyric Pieces Leif Ove Andsnes (piano); Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Mariss Jansons rec. 2001-7 EMI CLASSICS 3943992 [71:24][JW]

The Ballade is a must-hear for Grieg lovers, no question  ... see Full Review

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) (attributed) Trio Sonatas for oboe and violin Convivium rec. 1998 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55280 [64:16][BW]

Lively performances of attractive music: whether it’s by Handel or not does not matter ... see Full Review

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Great Handel Ian Bostridge (tenor); Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Harry Bicket rec. 2006 EMI CLASSICS 3822432 [65.54][RH]

Bostridge’s admirers will undoubtedly enjoy this but other listeners might be less convinced by his rather personal take ... see Full Review

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Il ritorno di Tobia Roberta Invernizzi, Sophie Karthäuser (soprano); Ann Hallenberg (contralto); Anders J. Dahlin (tenor); Nikolay Borchev (bass) VokalEnsemble Köln/Max Ciolek, Capella Augustana/Andreas Spering rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570300-02 [3 CDs] [JV]

An outstanding performance: powerful, but also transparent and well-articulated ... see Full Review

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) La Resurrezione Combattimento Consort Amsterdam/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2001 CHALLENGE RECORDS CCDVD72159 [DVD: 1.56 + 0.46 plus 2 CDs: 64:02 + 50:48][JV]

Recommendable for the dramatic reading of the orchestral score - the vocal contributions are a mixed bag ... see Full Review

Trevor HOLD (1939-2004) The Unreturning Spring – a song cycle to poems by James Farrar op. 3 ... see Chisholm Symphony 2

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Piano Quartet, Fantasy String Quartet,
Rhapsodic Quintet Richards Piano Quartet, Thea King (clarinet) rec. 1973 LYRITA SRCD.292 [53.20] [EM]

Exemplary performances of extremely moving, accomplished and utterly gorgeous pieces! ... see Full Review

Leoš JANÁCEK (1854–1928) The Excursions of Mr Broucek Jan Vaník, Peter Straka, BBC Singers, BBC SO/Jirí Belohlávek rec. 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 7387 [65.01 + 57:59] [DC]

Rarely seen on both stage and record, and after hearing this new recording I suspect you will find this state of affairs as inexplicable as I do ... see Full Review

Joseph Martin KRAUS (1756-1792) Ballet Music Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Petter Sundkvist rec. 2005  NAXOS 8.557498 [69:39][JW]

A robust and entertaining selection – captivatingly well presented and highly enjoyable ... see Full Review

Joseph Martin KRAUS (1756-1792) Violin Concerto, Olympie, Azire Takako Nishizaki (violin), New Zealand SO/Uwe Grodd rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570334 [58:36]
Joseph Martin KRAUS (1756-1792) Pantomimes, Fiskarena, Ballet music for Gluck’s Armide Swedish CO/Petter Sundkvist rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.557498 [69:39] [TP]

Unfailingly well crafted, tuneful and charming ... see Full Review

Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie Espagnole, Fantasie Norvégienne (arr. by Lars Hannibal for violin and guitar) Kim Sjřgren (violin) Lars Hannibal (guitar) rec. 1992 OUR RECORDINGS 8.226903 [JW]

Unusual and surprising fare ... see Full Review

Jean LANGLAIS (1907-1991) Eclipse: Choral and Organ Music Gloriae dei Cantores/Elizabeth C. Patterson rec. April 2007 GLORIAE DEI CANTORES GSCD041 [56.16 + 62.21][GH]

Excellent with fine diction and intonation and a clear and precise ensemble ... see Full Review

Orlandus LASSUS (1532-1594) Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae - Requiem Collegium Regale/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2005 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD076 [70:06][JV]

The Collegium Regale sings Lassus's music very well, but is a little short on expression ... see Full Review

Antonio LAURO (1917–1986) Guitar Music Volume 2 Includes Sonata, Estudios en imitiaciones, Suite (Homenaje a John Duarte) Victor Villadangos rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570250 [GF]

Antonio Lauro may not be the most important of 20th century guitar composers but his music is always eminently listenable. ... see Full Review

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Wiener Frauen, Overtures: Der Göttergatte, Wo die Lerche singt WDR RSO & Ch/Helmuth Froschauer rec. 1971-2005 CPO 999 326-2 [59:50] [IL]

Captivating early Lehár ... see Full Review

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Complete Piano Music. Vol. 27 - Donizetti Operatic Reminiscences and Transcriptions William Wolfram rec 2006 NAXOS 8.570137 [MC]

William Wolfram is on splendid form negotiating a wide gamut of emotions. ... see Full Review


[Click here for the most recent reviews (last five days)]
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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