Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett,  Reviewers: Rob Barnett, Ian Lace, Len Mullenger, and:  Richard Adams, Colin Anderson, Terry Barfoot,  Marc Bridle, Arthur Butterworth, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Gerald Fenech,  Lewis Foreman, David Frieze, Malcolm Galloway,  Ian Marchant, John Phillips, Ailís Ní Ríain, Humphrey Smith, Philip Scowcroft, Colin Scott Sutherland, Andrew Seivewright, Richard Whitehouse, Reg Williamson, Peter Grahame Woolf, David Wright. A complete list of contributors can be seen here


August 2000 part 2

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Messe et Motet pour les trepasses/Miserere des Jesuites etc.
Choeur de chambre de Namur/Ensemble La Fenice/Jean Tubery
Virgin Veritas VBD5 45394 2 8 [62.36]

This sequence of funeral music composed in the late 17. C by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, is of consistent, exquisite beauty, and celebratory rather than morbid in general effect, much of it light and fast......Recommended most warmly.

Piano Quartet in A,

Piano Quartet in B flat
Op 41.
Touchwood Piano Quartet.
ASV CD QS 6241 (DDD) [67.05] [DW]

The performances are exquisite, technically secure, stylistically correct, very warm and mellow. There is a compelling innocence and open-air feel about them.The recording and balance is also exemplary.

String Quartet in C minor, Op. 35.
String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 35.
Chilingirian String Quartet.
Hyperion CDA67097 [DDD] [64'49] [CC]

..... Indeed, this is so perfectly realised in the performance of the Chausson one could be forgiven for expecting this disc to be one in a thousand......

Viola Sonatas,


Viola suites Op. 131d

Vladimir Bukac (viola) Jaromir Klepac (piano)
Wallace Collection, London. 9 July 2000
Calliope CAL 9285 (72.10) [PW]

The Martinu sonata is rarely heard and a good reason to purchase this CD.


Piano Sonata (1936)
Six Preludes (1945)

Piano Sonata (1963)

Two Waltzes (1953)
Piano Sonata (1962)
Tatjana Rankovich (piano)
rec 6, 21 Jan 1998, 29 Apr 1998, 24 June 1999
PHOENIX PHCD 143 [70.32] [RB]

Recommended to devotees of the Italian neo-romantic vein in American music. We need to hear more of Ms Rankovitch preferably in pioneering repertoire of this type.

Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien - Symphonic Fragments

orch Ravel:
Pictures at an Exhibition

North German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg/Gunter Wand.
RCA RED SEAL 74321 72788 2. [54'59"] [CA]

Very good sound, well-balanced and natural - just like Wand's conducting. The Debussy is exceptional; Mussorgsky's music is tellingly revealed and Ravel's orchestration is shown in a new light.



DELIUS Orchestral works Vol. 1
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Summer Night on the River
Koanga - Closing Scene
Hassan: Interlude; Serenade
Paris - Song of a Great City

RPO/LPO conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham
rec 1927-34 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110904 [61.11] [RB]

DELIUS Orchestral works Vol. 2
The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Sea Drift
Fennimore and Gerda - Intermezzo
In a Summer Garden
Over the Hills and Far Away

John Brownlee (bar)
London Select Choir
RPO/LPO conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham
rec 1927-36 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.10905 [62.42] [RB]

DELIUS Orchestral works Vol. 3
Brigg Fair 13.45
La Calinda 3.25
Hassan - Closing scene 7.23
Irmelin Prelude 4.12
Appalachia 37.07
(all rec Abbey Rd, Studio 1, London)
Jan van der Gucht (ten)
Royal Opera Chorus
NAXOS 8.110906 [66.12] [RB]

Danish Masterworks
Aarhus Symphony Orchestra/Aarhus Chamber Choir cond Bo Holten,
Henriette Bonde-Hansen (sop), Johann Reuter (bar)
Danacord DACOCD 536 [70.26] [PW]

This is a first recording in Danish of Delius's orchestral songs. They are all well recorded and will be essential purchases for Delius collectors.

DUFAY with various composers & 'anon'.
Missa Ecce ancilla Domini & Le Banquet du Voeu
Ensemble Gilles Binchois/Dominique Vellard
Virgin Veritas VBD5 61818 2 (59.34+64.06)  [PW]

It is hard to enthuse about this sort of production....With better presentation, really not too tall an order, it would qualify for another star. As offered, pleasant background music for a 21st Century supper party, maybe?

Symphonies 6 & 8
Vienna Philharmonic, Myung-Whun Chung
DG 469 046-2, 76 minutes, Full-Price

These are enormously empathetic readings - wonderfully played and beautifully recorded. The surprise must surely be that Chung, a conductor who does not have this music in his blood, is so obviously able to enter the sound world of Dvorak so convincingly.

Edward ELGAR (1857 - 1934)
Piano Quintet in A Minor Op. 84 35'34"
Sospiri Op.70* 3'28"
The Farm Yard (Harmony Music No 4)** 13'49"

Frederick DELIUS (1862 - 1934)
Violin Sonata No 3 16'47"
Violin Sonata No 2* 11'27"
Violin Sonata No 1* 20'30"
Cello Sonata* 14'20"
Soloists of the London Symphony Orchestra & Isreala Margalit.
EMI British Composers CZS 5 73992 2 [HD]

Chamber Music by Elgar and Delius, two of the triumvirate of English composers who died in the same year of 1934 (Gustav Holst was the third), is combined to make up this double CD in the British Composers Series from EMI. Musically there is not a lot of common ground between the two men. Neither is best remembered for his chamber music and this recording may introduce it to new listeners.

JOHN FIELD (1782-1837)
Piano Music, Volume 2: Nocturnes and Sonatas.
Benjamin Frith (piano).
Naxos 8.550762 [CC]

The Sonata Op. 1 No. 3 in C minor logically appears on this second volume, in a most successful performance.This piece alone justifies the modest outlay for this disc.

Nausicaa (1961) Scenes from the opera in three acts
 Teresa Stratas; Athens Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Carlos Surinach

Operatic buffs need this disc in their collection as do Stratas collectors. We can only hope that Glanville-Hicks' still unperformed opera Sappho (written for Callas) will attract the attention of a conductor and funding body.

Mikhail Ivanovich GLINKA
A Life for the Tsar - Suite
Capriccio Brillante
Souvenir d'une nuit d'ete a Madrid

Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian
recorded 21 / 22 July 1999, Aram Khatchaturian Hall, Yerevan, Armenia (DDD).
ASV CD DCA 1075 [70.39] [JP]

A colourful, excellently recorded disc dedicated to the works of Glinka. They are played for all they are worth on this ASV disc - wonderful stuff.


Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
Piano Music, Volume 3.
Preludio en re mayor. Danza lenta. Escenas románticas. Barcarola. Caprichio español. Libro de horas. Paisaje. Allegro appassionato. Allegro de concierto.

Douglas Riva (piano).
Naxos 8.554628 [DDD] [67'02] [CC]

A mixed disc. Some beautifully spun sonorities vie with missed opportunities. The recording is adequate.

HALFFTER, Ernesto.
Orchestral Works.
Habanera, Cavatina, Al Amancer for violin and orchestra,
Esquisses Symphoniques, Sinfonietta in D.

Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria, Adrian Leaper.
ASV CD DCA 1078 (DDD) [64.22] [DW]

Halffter's music is attractive, tonal and easy-going but lacks a vital ingredient, the ability to say something completely new. It is pleasant music but offers nothing of any real purport to remember.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN
Symphonies 1 - 8.
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra I Ingio Metzmacher.
EMI Classics. CDS5569112 . 3 CD set [DW]

This is wonderful music of intellectual and emotional intensity. Very, very special...... Music for which no adjectives exist and, even if they did, they would not suffice.

Franz Joseph HAYDN
Symphonies 88 and 89 plus Sinfonia Concertante for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon

Lucy van Dael (violin), Wouter Muller (cello), Ku Ebbinge (oboe) and Danny Bond (bassoon).Orchestra of the 18th Century - Franz Bruggen
Philips 462 602-2 [61.52] [JP]

Good, stylish, but a little earthbound performances of three of Haydn's mature symphonic works, in a first issue of a ten year old recording at full price.

'The Teares of the Muses'
Pavans, Galliards & Almaines
Hesperion XXI Jordi Savall.
Alia Vox AV9813 66m DDD.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934)
Savitri (1908) 31.20
Dream City a song cycle (orch Colin Matthews) (1929) 26.30
Felicity Palmer (mezzo/Savitri)
Philip Langridge (ten/Satyavan)
Stephen Varcoe (bar/Death)
Patrizia Kwella (sop) (in song cycle)
Richard Hickox Singers
City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox.
HYPERION Helios CDH55042 [57.49] [RB]

The bargain range catalogue is not what it was. It is so much better.

A strong recommendation. Well worth your fiver. Compelling for the songs.

Alan HOVHANESS (1911-00)
Symphony No. 3 (1956) 27.56
Mystery of the Holy Martyrs (1976) 38.11
Michael Long (guitar)
KBS SO/Vakhtang Jordania
rec June 1996, Seoul, Korea

Soundset are not exactly (or even vaguely) a company with a profile in the catalogue. In the circumstances it is all the more important that this disc is documented.
Music: sincere and of a gently ecstatic inclination. A true Baedecker of Hovhaness's palette; in the symphony conveying a stronger sense of linear development than in many of the less obscure symphonies. In the Martyrs it communictaes as a great tapestry of devotional serenity.

Armenian Rhapsody No. 1 (1944) 5.45
Armenian Rhapsody No. 2 (1944) 7.47
Armenian Rhapsody No. 3 (1944) 5.42
Symphony No. 38 (1978) 19.09
Concerto No. 10 for piano, trumpet and strings (1988) 22.11
Hinako Fujihara (coloratura soprano) in symphony
Martin Berkofsky (piano) in concerto
Chris Butler (trumpet)
Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz (composer in Symphony)
rec (concerto and rhapsodies) Seattle, June 1996; (symphony) Seattle, May 1992
KOCH-SCHWANN 3-7422-2H1 [60.32] [RB]

This is music about which there is nothing of the parade ground, no circus and nothing kitsch.

Sixteenth century lute settings
Jacob Heringman - Renaissance Lute
Discipline Global Mobile DGM0006 [AD]

Jacob Heringmans authentic sound and playing style suits this music perfectly.

Before Sleep and Dreams (1990)
Air (1995)
Meditation (in memory of John Lennon) (1981)
The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine (1991)
 Evelyne Luest (piano) Composer (piano - Meditation)
Andrea Schultz (violin) Michael Finckel (cello)
Luest, Finckel, Schultz, Evan Spritzer (narrator and clarinet) - in Four Seasons
PHOENIX PHCD 143  [65.26]

Kernis's reputation as a post-modernist not just in touch with sweet romanticism but in immersed communion with it is already secure....after hearing various violin sonatas by Benjamin Lees and Leon Kirchner I discovered this music with a sense of relief. It acts as benediction.

Aram KHACHATURYAN (1903-1978)
Film Music
Pepo (1934)
Undying Flame (1956)
Secret Mission (1950)
Admiral Ushakov (1953)
Prisoner 217 (1945)
Armenian PO/Loris Tjeknavorian
rec 22-23 Oct 1995, Yerevan, Armenia
ASV CD DCA 966 [66.35] [RB]

A neon bright collection of garish rare Russian film music played and recorded with style to match.

Lermontov Suite (1944)
Russian Fantasy (1944)
Ode in Memory of Lenin (1948)
Greeting Overture (1958)
Festive Poem (1950)
Armenian PO/Loris Tjeknavorian
rec 28 Oct - 2 Nov 1994, Yerevan, Armenia
ASV CD DCA 966 [66.06] [RB]

Vivid Russian music making - pleasurable if not always wildly inspired. Brightly recorded. Well annotated.

Lappland-Metamorfoser (1957) 12.49
Impulsi (1964) 11.35
Echi (1965) 13.03
Ritmi (1966) 11.43
Oxberg-Variationer (1956) 17.26
Stockholm PO/Stig Westerberg
rec Stockholm Concert Hall, Jan-Sept 1977; 26 May 1960 (Oxberg)

Clean, sharply delineated, folksy without kitsch and strongly rhythmic, von Koch's music has made small impact internationally. Time for reassessment.....The music 'feels' big and is often marked out by dance fragments stamping and flickering. The woodwind writing is notable for carrying the front-line interest. Too, however, Von Koch employs the percussion to dramatic effect as well as for colour.

Violin Sonata (1916) 32.22
Viola Sonata (1913-15) 32.08
Marie Viaud (violin)/Mireille Guillaume (piano)
Michel Michalakakos (viola)/Martine Gagnepain (piano)
rec 1997 SKARBO SK 1985 [64.28] [RB]

Koechlin confessed to writing music of an escapist leaning in the violin sonata. The viola sonata looks the war in the eye for as long as the composer can bear it....This music is reflective with a heightened consciousness of tragedy and the washing away of old certainties.

Violin Concerto (1952)
Violin Concertino (1952)
Trombone Concertino (1955)
Double Bass Concertino (1957)
Oboe Concertino (1944)
Leo Berlin (violin) Christer Torge (trombone) Luigi Ossoinak (double bass) Alf Nilsson (oboe) Stockholm PO/Stig Westerberg (violin works) Orebro Kammarorkester/Lennart Hedwall (trombone) Filharmonins Kammarensemble (double bass and Soderlundh)

The violin concerto is a work that breathes romance. From its breathing opening ostinato to the thunderous fantasy of the finale it proclaims its heritage tracing to the Tchaikovsky, the Sibelius (many reminders) and the concerto by William Walton. Its gentle dissonances echo Frankel but do not detract from its grown-up accessibility. A most heart-warming work to be counted with Prokofiev No. 2, the Barber and the Menotti.

YOUNG JO LEE (b. 1943) Korean Piano Music:
Dance Suite; Five Korean Legends;
Variations on a Theme of Schubert; Variations: "3B"
My Kim (piano)
ASV CD DCA 1088 [IL]

My Kim, one of Korea's top pianists, empathises with this lovely evocative music and brings it vividly to life with all the sensitivity and delicacy it demands. Clearly a young lady to watch.

Aubert LEMELAND (b. 1932)
Three Concertos for violin and string orchestra
Concerto Funebre (1992)
Concerto Op. 128 (1985)
Concerto Op. 148 (1985)
Marie-Annick Nicolas (violin)
Orchestra de Chambre National de Toulouse/Emmanuel Plasson
SKARBO SK3922 [52.05] [RB]

Lemeland is a powerful composer and his concentration and that of Nicolas is palpable in the Adagio espressivo of Op. 128 and the two lentos of Op. 148. The closing pages are an 'abschied' of telling breathless enchantment....The shortish playing time doessn't seem to matter when you are engaged with this music.

Bernhard LEWKOVITCH (b 1927)
3 Salmi. Op 9 (1952) [13.49]
Anthems to the Blessed Virgin (1994) [7.26]
Tre madrigali di Torquato Tasso. Op 13 (1955)* [8.27]
Via Stenonis (1987) [8.22]
Appollo's Art - Four English Madrigals (1993) [7.04]
Three Passion Motess - ad honorem Tomàs Luis Da Victoria (1996) [7.22]
Pater Noster (1983) [7.47]
Det Jyske Kammerkor / The Jutland Chamber Choir
Members of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra/Mogens Dahl
Recorded in Lystrup Church 16/20 Oct 1999 and 14/15 Sept 1996* DDD
Dacapo 8.224152 [60.17] [HD]

Choral music devotees may like a "try before you buy" approach.

Violin Concerto.
(b. 1932)
Helle Nacht: Violin Concerto. Sonata, 'The Secret Melody'.
Christina Åstrand (violin); Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard.
Chandos CHAN9830 [DDD] [67'41] [CC]

This is a fascinating, thought-provoking coupling of two major late twentieth century additions to the violin repertoire.....Ligeti's Violin Concerto presents a fascinating, compulsive listening experience....Åstrand is sweet-toned and committed throughout.

Aura, Engine*
BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta*/Oliver Knussen
DG 463 184-2   [51'22"]
[CA] [PW] [LM]

This is music with a wide appeal with something to say and crosses boundaries saying it.

FRANZ LISZT (1811-86)
Complete Piano Music, Volume 14.
Bunte Reihe, S484/R149.

Valerie Tryon (piano).
Naxos 8.553507 [DDD] [72'09] [CC]

....That Liszt can hold the attention for nearly an hour and a quarter is all the more astonishing given the standard of David's music: the booklet notes state that, 'His music does not astonish, nor does it leave a lasting impression'. This hits the nail squarely on the head...There are some real surprises here ...

OTTO LUENING (1900-1996)
The songs (30) of Otto Luening written between 1917 and 1993
 Judith Bettina (sop) James Goldsworthy (piano) Susan Palma-Nidel (flute)
rec Sept 1999, NYC

The songs be reckoned alongside those of Benjamin Britten, or, yet more directly, with Arthur Bliss's Seven American Poems. The songs set classic texts by Goethe, Hesse, Shelley, Blake, Joyce, Byron and Emily Dickinson. The Goethe and Hesse poems are set to the original German texts.

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