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Superbudget £5.99 or less Budget £6-7.99 Medium £8-10.99 Full price £11+ Download

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) String Quartets 1 & 2 Fine Arts Qt rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572454 [62:48] [RMo]

Not easy listening but repeated encounters will pay dividends to the dedicated chamber music enthusiast. 

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concerto 1 see HAYDN


Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Havanaise

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Salve Regina, Keyboard sonatas Charles AVISON (1709-1770) Concertos Carlos Mena (alto) Nicolau de Figueiredo (harpsichord) Sevilla Bar O/Nicolau de Figueiredo rec. 2007 ORQUESTRA BARROCA DE SEVILLA OBS-002 [67:07] [JV]

The programme convincingly shows 'the other side of Domenico Scarlatti' as well as his influence on his contemporaries.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Complete Keyboard Sonatas - Vols I & II Carlo Grante (piano) rec. 2009 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1236 [6 CDs: 392:15] & CD-1242 [6 CDs: 454:03] [Byz]

Music of relentless originality in outstanding performances attractively packaged.

Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht see BRAHMS

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios 1 & 2, Nocturne, Sonata D28 Claus-Christian Schuster (piano); Boris Kuschir (violin); Martin Hornstein (cello) rec. 1991 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6137 [48:17 + 61:17] [DC]

High-impact, masculine performance and recording.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quintet in C major, D.956 (1828) [54:09] Brandis Quartett rec. 1992, NIMBUS NI 5313 [54:09] [OL]

An excellent performance, intense and thrilling, elegant and thought-provoking.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios 1 & 2 Beaux Arts Trio rec. 1977/87 ICA CLASSICS ICAD 5010 [81:00] [KM]

Poor sound mars this “historic” DVD.

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Trio see MOZART

Clara SCHUMANN (1819 - 1896) Lieder see R SCHUMANN

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 - 1856) Dichterliebe, Liederkreis Clara SCHUMANN (1819 - 1896) Lieder Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Gerold Huber (piano) rec. 2010 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 819 [56:47] [GF]

Quite a good stab but it is to be hoped he will come back with something even better.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Waldszenen, Grande sonata see Ciccolini

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Matthäus-Passion Julian Podger (tenor) Jacob Bloch Jespersen (bass) Ars Nova Copenhagen/Paul Hillier rec. 2010 DACAPO 8.226094 [54:42] [Byz]

The beautiful voices of Ars Nova Copenhagen float in the lovely acoustic of the Garnison Church. 

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Geistliche Chor-Music Dresdner Kammerchor, Cappella Sagittariana Dresden/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2006/07 CARUS 83.232 [53:30 + 48:39] [MS]

A splendid recording … blends care and precision with a broad musicality.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete impromptus and other early pieces Boris Bekhterev (piano) rec. 2010 CAMERATA CMCD-28231 [69.05] [SS]

Bekhterev seems to select the right tempi intuitively. A pianist with insight and understanding.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony 2, Karelia Suite New Zealand SO/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2008/10 NAXOS 8.572704 [61:55] [BR]

The least disappointing of Inkinen’s cycle, with a very good Second. 


Christian SINDING (1856-1941)
Suite im alten Stil

Alexander SKRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano Sonata 1 see Prokofiev

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 9 Royal PO/BBC SO/Rudolf Kempe rec. 1974/1975 ICA CLASSICS DVD ICAD 5009 [89:18] [RM]
This new DVD preserves some superb performances directed by a conductor of the highest calibre, performing live and at the peak of his abilities.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Ein Heldenleben Chicago SO/Daniel Barenboim rec. 1990 WARNER APEX 2564 67716-3 [62:39] [BW]

A Heldenleben to rival the best – and Till is not far behind.


Richard STRAUSS (1864 - 1949) Violin Sonata see GRIEG


(1864-1949) Burleske see REGER

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Pétrouchka, Le Sacre du Printemps Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2008/9 BIS BISSACD1474 [69:00] [DC]

Stop press: crusty old cynic declares recording as ‘near definitive’.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring (1913, arr. for two pianos by the composer) [34:34] Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (1874, arr. for two pianos by Tim Seddon) [34:10] Tamriko Siprashvili, Mark Anderson (pianos) rec. December 2003, DDD NIMBUS NI 5733 [68:44] [OL]

The playing is good, but in today’s competitive market it is not enough to be just good.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Suite (after Pergolesi) see Echoes of Paris

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Four Last Songs Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias from operas Aga Mikolaj (soprano) WDR RO Köln/Karl Sollak rec. 2009 CPO 777 641-2 [67:30] [Byz]

Mikolaj certainly deserves to be heard alongside the greats.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) The Violin Concertos - Vol.16 L'Arte dell'Arco rec. 2009 DYNAMIC CDS 613/1-2 [58:36 + 76:59] [Byz]

That these musical treasures have lain hidden away from humankind for so long is scandalous, and kudos to Dynamic and L'Arte dell'Arco for bringing them out of the vaults and on display.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5; 1812 Overture Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Sten'ka Razin Berlin State Opera O, Berlin PO/Alexander Kitschin rec. 1928-29 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 268 [72:21] [JW]

A rather amazing disc.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Forgotten Pages: The Storm; Fatum; Hamlet State Academic SO/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1990 MELODIYA MEL CD10 01736 [58:53] [GD]

Focused, driving, energetic, and above all, deeply Russian.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet see FRANCK

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Wind Concertos Vols 4 & 5 Michael Schneider (recorder, transverse flute) Karl Kaiser (transverse flute) Martin Stadler (oboe, oboe d'amore) La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2007/9 CPO 777400-2 [60:47] 777401-2 [67:48] [JV]

Those who have discovered Telemann's genius should not hesitate to add these discs to their collection. 

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1727) Trios & Quartets Epoca Barocca rec. 2006 CPO 777 441-2 [65:57] [BW]

Pleasant music, well played and recorded, but there are better Telemann pickings to be had.

Spanish Works for String Orchestra Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Joan MANÉN (1883-1971) Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Ricard Lamote de GRIGNON (1899-1962) Orquestra Nacional de Cambra d’Andorra/Gerard Claret (concertino-director and solo violin) rec. November 1997, Auditori Nacional d’Andorra
NIMBUS NI 5570 [56:52] [JW]

A well worked programme; not to be overlooked in the welter of releases and re-releases that continue to saturate the market.

John VEALE (1922-2006) String Quartet Robert CRAWFORD (b.1925) Elegiac quintet, Clarinet quintet Linda Merrick (clarinet) John Turner (recorder), Adderbury Ens rec. 2009 METIER MSV 28520 [77.41] [GH]

Superb and understanding performances – a fascinating and enterprising disc.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) The Verdi Opera Experience WARNER CLASSICS 2564679409 [79.22 + 75.44] [RJF]

A bargain bag of Verdian pot-pourri. Some good performances mixed with others better left in the archives.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Requiem Zinka Milanov (soprano) Charles Kullman (tenor) Bruna Castagna (contralto) Nicola Moscona (bass) Schola Cantorum, NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1938/43 IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES IPRMS IPCD1009-2 [61:53 + 79:05] [JW]

Collectors will be highly impressed by the standard of care exercised by IP.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741) Vivaldi sulle sei corde: Trios & concertos for mandolin/lute Giuliano Belotti, Carles Herràiz (guitar) O de Cambra del Principal de Catalunya/Cristoforo Pestalozzi rec. 2010 COLUMNA MÚSICA 1CM0265 [62:16] [JV]

This disc will appeal more to guitar aficionados than to those who like to hear Vivaldi's music in its original state.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Gloria Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Exsultate, jubilate Pierrette Alarie (soprano) Marie-Therese Cahn (alto) Ensemble Vocal de Paris, O de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/André Jouve rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 420 [45:33] [GF]

Deeply satisfying.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg Prelude Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1 Alisa Weilerstein (cello) Berlin PO/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2010 EUROARTS 2058064 [89:00] [MG]

Interpretations of considerable substance complemented by crispness of picture and clarity of sound.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Ring des Nibelungen: Highlights Juha Uusitalo (Wotan) Jennifer Wilson (Brunnhilde) Lance Ryan (Siegfried) Orq de la Comunitat Valenciana/Zubin Mehta rec. 2007-2009 UNITEL CLASSICA 704608 [130:00] [DB]

A great success overall and this DVD needs watching just once before you go out and buy the whole thing.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Ring des Nibelungen Martha Mödl, Hilde Konetzni (soprano) Wolfgang Windgassen, Ludwig Suthaus (tenor) Ferdinand Frantz (bass-baritone) RAI SO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1953 EMI CLASSICS 9081612 [13 CDs: 902:00] [DH]

A rich bass-up orchestral palette, cumulative architecture over large spans, rhythmic grip and narrative heart.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - orchestral excerpts César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Pelléas et Mélisande – concert suite Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1959-1961 ICA CLASSICS DVD ICAD 5015 [70:28] [RM]

A very significant musical record.

Transfiguration Richard WAGNER (1813 -1883) Arias from Lohengrin, Tannhäuser & Tristan und Isolde Richard STRAUSS (1864 -1949) Arias from Arabella, Daphne, Ariadne auf Naxos & Salome Camilla Nylund (soprano) Tampere PO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2010 ONDINE ODE 1168-2 [73.21] [RH]

A promising recital rather than a great one.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH William WALTON (1902-1983) Violin Concerto Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Havanaise Christian SINDING (1856-1941) Suite im alten Stil Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Violin Concerto 2 ‘The Prophets’ Jascha Heifetz (violin) Philharmonia O/William Walton, RCA Victor SO/William Steinberg, Los Angeles PO/Alfred Wallenstein rec. 1950-4 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111367 [77:25] [BW]

One of the greatest historical bargains that I’ve heard for a long time.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) String Quartets Doric String Qt rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN10661 [62:17] [MC]

Thoroughly enjoyable and I’m sure I will return to it often.

Meira WARSHAUER (b.1949) Symphony No. 1 Living Breathing Earth (2005) [26:20] Tekeeyah (a call) (2008) [24:38] Haim Avitsur (trombone/shofar) Moravian Philharmonic/Petr Vronsky rec. no details given NAVONA RECORDS NV5842 [50:58] [RB]

Warshauer’s music is shot through with and inspired by mystical and spiritual matters that span a love and respect for Mother Earth and the Jewish faith.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Cello Solo Sonatas 2-4 Josef Feigelson (cello) rec. 1997 NAXOS 8.572281 [59:49] [BR]

Emotional Soviet solo cello. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is hard to beat.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Violin Sonatas 3 & 4 Barbara Trojanowska (violin) Elzbieta Tyszecka (piano) rec. 2008/10 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0209 [44:19] [JW]

A logical coupling but it makes for very short timing.

Gernot WOLFGANG (b.1957) Short Stories Judith Farmer (bassoon) Nico Abondolo (contrabass) Joanne Pearce Martin (theremin, piano) Tereza Stanislav (violin) rec. 2010 ALBANY RECORDS TROY1248 [65:52] [Byz]

An attractive prospect with committed performances and very good sound quality.

Fu-Tong WONG (b.1948) Symphony: The Hero with Great Eagle [63:35] Voronezh State Symphony Orchestra/Mak Ka-lok rec. Symphony Hall, Voronezh, Russia, 26 January, 2 February 2004. DDD WONG'S MUSIC & CULTURE WCD 002 [63:35] + Bonus DVD [ST]

  Seamlessly incorporated melodic ideas, narrative interest and timbral imagination.

Fu-Tong WONG (b.1948) Postcards from China Cho-Liang Lin (violin) Evelyn Chen (piano) rec. Concert Hall, Rice University, Houston, Texas, 17-18 May 2010. DDD WONG'S MUSIC & CULTURE WCD 003 [61:07] [ST]

Crammed with gorgeous Far Eastern melodies but fundamentally Western harmonies, instruments and techniques that is all but guaranteed to appeal to almost any music-lover.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679-1745) Officium defunctorium, Requiem Collegium 1704 & Vocale/Václav Luks rec. 2010 ACCENT ACC 24244 [61:26 + 40:04] [DC]

Drop dead gorgeousness.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String Quartet No. 1 in A major, Op. 4 (1896) [26:20] String Quartet No. 2, Op. 15 (1915) [38:18] Artis Quartett Wien rec.1997, Stereo. DDD NIMBUS NI 5563 [64:48] [JW]

The Artis still rank very high in this repertoire and are worthy of serious consideration.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String Quartet No. 3 Op. 19 (1923) [21:50] String Quartet No. 4 Op. 25 (1936) [23:31] Johanna MÜLLER-HERMANN (1868-1941)
String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 6 (1908) [22:10] Artis Quartett Wien rec. 1998. Stereo. DDD NIMBUS NI 5604 [67:50] [JW]

The Artis fully deserve a high place in the quartet discography.

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