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MADETOJA Symphonies complete; Comedy Overture; Suites from Okon Fuoko and The Ostrobothnians. Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Chandos CHAN 6626(2) [66.55+71.25] [PGW]

I am hearing his music for the first time (though I knew the name) and I rapidly regretted that this had been so for half a century after his lifetime.

MAHLER Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor Orchestra National de l'O.R.T.F Conducted by Hermann Scherchen Harmonia Mundi HMA 1955179 [53.20] [TD]

Buyer Beware!

MAHLER Symphony No.6 in A minor Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester SaarbrückenConducted by Hans Zender  CPO 999 477-2 [69.59] [TD]

This will not be to everyone's taste but is a recording of Mahler's Sixth conducted by an interesting musician with many good points on its side. Not least classical rigour stressing twentieth century aspects. There must be some reservations regarding the playing and the sound but this single disc version certainly deserves to be heard.

MENDELSSOHN Hebrides Overture - Berlin PO/Karajan Violin Concerto Mutter/Berlin - PO/Karajan Symphony No 4 Italian - Berlin PO/Karajan Songs Without Words (4) - Barenboim Midsummer Night's Dream - Edith Mathis Ursula Boese Bavarian Radio SO and choir/Rafael Kubelik
Octet - Academy of St Martin the Fields DG PANORAMA 469 157-2 2 CDs - CD1 [78.54]; CD2 [73.23] [RB]

Generous collection. Good to excellent performances from the DG and Philips back catalogue. A good introduction to the composer and the Dream music is the undoubted highlight.

MESSIAEN (1908 - 1991) Quatuor por la fin du temps. (Quartet for the end of time) [52.30] Gil Shaham (violin),Paul Meyer (clar), Jian Wang (cello), Myung-Whun Chang (piano) Recorded Radio France, Paris. 6 / 1999 DDD Deutsche Grammophon 469 052-2 [HD]

If you don't know the work - try to hear some of it. If you do - than this CD will appeal.

MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) VESPERS (Vespers della Beata Vergine 1610) Eleven SATB soloists; Coro Della Radio Svizzera, Lugano; Ensemble More Antiquo; Concerto Palatino; I Barocchisti Directed by Diego Fasolis ARTS Authentic 47594-2 2 CDs [97:35] [IL]

This is such a very good recording, in performance and sound (just the right amount of cathedral-like reverberation) of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, available at such a bargain price, that it should be snapped up without any hesitation.

MOZART (1756-1791) CD1 [78.14] Symphony No 39* in E Flat Major. K543 [25.03] Symphony No 40* in G Minor. K550 [26.12] Symphony No 41* in C Major. K551 [26.59] CD2 [77.58]
Piano Sonata in C Minor**. K 457 [21.36] Requiem in D Minor ***K626. [56.13] Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Karl Böhm* Alfred Brendel (piano)** Wilma Lipp (sop), Hilde Rössel-Majdan (cont); Anton Dermota (ten): Walter Berry (bass). Wiener Singverein; Berlin Philharmonic;Herbert von Karajan*** Recorded 1962 (Symphonies 40 / 41; Requiem) 1966 (Symphony No 39); 1985 (Sonata) ADD (Symphonies and Requiem): DDD (Sonata) DG Panorama 469 160 - 2 [156.10] [HD]

Minor quibbles should not hide another full pair of discs that are remarkable value.

MOZART MASSES Kolner Kammerchor / Collegium Cartusianum Peter Neuman Virgin Classics VB5 617692 8 Five CDs Bargain Price [HS]

These CDs deserve a place in the collection of anyone who relishes having a comprehensive (almost) set of the Mozart masses, and can be recommended for libraries as a valuable reference set. It serves to place the well-known and popular works in context alongside those lesser-known, but worthy of our careful attention.

MOZART (1756-91) Requiem, K626 (completed Vad). Vesperae solemnes de Confessore, K339 - Laudate Dominum. Ave Verum Corpus, K618. Bozena Harasimowicz-Haas (soprano); Katarzyna Suska (mezzo); Ole Hedegaard (tenor); Ole Støvring Larsen (bass); Chorus Soranus; Torunska Orkiestra Kameralna/Knud Vad. Classico CLASSCD288 [DDD] [58'10] [CC]

Knud Vad has valiantly proposed an alternative performing version of the Mozart Requiem.... Vad's version will not change your life, but it would have been fairer to give it a better chance than this.

MOZART (1756-91) Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K384. Yelda Kodalli (soprano) Konstanze; Paul Groves (tenor) Belmonte; Désirée Rancatore (soprano) Blonde; Peter Rose (bass) Osmin; Lynton Atkinson (tenor) Pedrillo; Oliver Tobias (speaker) Bassa Selim; Scottish Chamber chorus and Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras. Telarc CD-80544 [131'47] [DDD] [CC]

Any praise this set deserves must be reserved for the orchestra, who try to instil verve and style at all times. The soloists, however, seem less concerned with style, drama or even (sometimes) notes.

MOZART (1756-91) Don Giovanni (highlights). Cesare Siepi (bass) Don Giovanni; BIrgit Nilsson (soprano) Donna Anna; Leontyne Price (soprano) Donna Elvira; Fernando Corena (bass) Leporello; Cesare Valletti (tenor) Don Ottavio; Eugenia Ratti (soprano) Zerlina; Heinz Blankenburg (baritone) Masetto; Arnold van Mill (bass) Commendatore; Vienna State Opera Chorus; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Erich Leinsdorf. Decca Opera Gala 458 245-2 [ADD] [70'02] [CC]

A very mixed disc. Buy it only, perhaps, for the highlights of the highlights: the solos of Leontyne Price and Eugenia Ratti.

Carl NIELSEN Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva', Overture: 'Helios', 2 songs, Paraphrase on 'Nearer my God to Thee' Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Douglas Bostock.   CLASSICO CLASSCD297 66m.[GF]

Fine traditional performances

Carl NIELSEN Symphony No. 4 (The Inextinguishable) Symphony No. 5 Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra - Michael Schonwandt recorded in the Danish Radio Concert Hall - 21-22/10/99 (No.4) and 26-27/9/99 (No. 5). DaCapo 8.224156 [75.56] DDD [RB]

This disc deserves a very wide circulation.... I had much enjoyment from the disc. So much so that after hearing this recording, I promptly went out and bought the earlier issue, coupling Symphonies 2 and 3!! I enjoyed this just as much.

PARRY Symphonic Variations, Concertstuck in G Minor, From Death to Life, Elegy for Brahms. London Philharmonic Orchestra Matthias Bamert. Chandos Collect CHAN6610 54m DDD. [GF]

Chandos have already issued these recordings twice beforebut their inclusion in the newly revamped budget price 'Collect' series is more than welcome.

PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Op. 100, STRAVINSKY: The Rite of Spring (1977 recording) Berlin Philharmonic   Herbert von Karajan   DG The Originals 463-613-2 78m ADD.[AB]

There are many collectors who find it hard to see any merit in the recordings of Herbert von Karajan; however, if challenged I think you will find most of them will be prepared to find an exception in his famous 1969 recording of the Prokofiev 5th Symphony.

RACHMANINOV Symphony No 1 & The Isle of the Dead Russian National Orchestra, Mikhael Pletnev DG 463 075-2, Full Price [63'45] [JP]  

This disc will cause great rejoicing to Pletnev's many fans, as it completes his recordings of the Rachmaninov Symphonies for DGG. The second symphony, some problems with the recording of the timpani excepted, received universal acclaim, the third less so, but still was more than acceptable. Where does this new disc come in this series. Unfortunately for me a very distinct third place.

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto no.2 in C minor op.18 Sviatoslav Richter Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra Stanislaw Wislocki Vocalise op.34 no.14  Berlin Philharmonic Lorin Maazel  The Bells op.35  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Vladimir Ashkenazy Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra op.43 Vladimir Ashkenazy London Symphony Orchestra André Previn Symphony no.2 in E minor op.27
Berlin Philharmonic Lorin Maazel DG Panorama 469-178-2 157m [GF]

A mixed bag then, but worth investigating especially for the Richter 2nd Concerto.

Türe RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947) Symphonies - No. 1 in C sharp minor, 'August Strindberg in memoriam'; No. 2 in D minor, 'Mitt land'; No. 3 in D flat, 'Song under the stars'; No. 4 in E flat, 'Invocatio'. Dithyramb. Spring Hymn. Intermezzo drammatico. Norköping Symphony  Orchestra Michail Jurowski. CPO 999 748-2 3CD [DDD] [170'34] [CC] [PW]

I only hope that CPO's belief in this music inspires other companies to explore Rangström's output.

RAVEL Boléro Berlin PO/Karajan La Valse Berlin PO/Boulez Piano Concerto in G major - Martha Argerich/LSO/Abbado Rapsodie Espagnole - Boston SO/Ozawa Jeux d'Eau Argerich Pavane pour une Infante Défunte Boston SO/Ozawa Daphnis et Chloé Suite No 2 Boston SO/Abbado Gaspard de la Nuit Argerich Piano Trio Beaux Arts Trio Tzigane Salvatore Accardo/LSO/Abbado DG PANORAMA 469 184-2 2 CDs - CD1 [77.58] CD2 [74.22] [RB]

A good collection; nicely prepared and presented. Excellent introduction to Ravel

RAVEL ( 1875 - 1937) Orchestral Music CD1 [61.26] 1. Rapsodie espagnole [15.31] 2. Alborada del       graciosa [ 7.10] 3. Don Quichotte à Dulcinée [ 6.58] 4. Tzigane [10.21]  5. Pavane pour une infante défunte [ 6.08] 6. Bolero [14.38] CD2 [75.36] 7. Valses nobles et sentimentales [17.20] 8. Menuet antique [ 6.28] 9. Le Tombeau de Couperin [16.26] 10.Une barque sur l'océan [ 8.07] 11.Ma Mère l'oye (complete ballet) [26.44] CD3 [69.54] 12.Shéhérazade: Ouverture de féerie [13.03] 13.Shéhérazade: Trois Poèmes [17.04] 14.Introduction and Allegro [11.12] 15.L'Eventail de Jeanne: Fanfare [ 1.29]
16.Trio in A Minor (orchestrated by Yan Pascal Tortelier)CD4 [67.26] 17.Daphnis and Chloé (complete ballet) [55.09]
18.La Valse [12.08] Ulster Orchestra Jan Pascal Tortelier (cond)
CHANDOS Enchant 7100 (4) [274.22] [HD]

Summary. Four discs, generously filled, with recordings varying from good to demonstration standard, and performances never less than satisfactory and at times excellent. Good value and anyone wanting to widen their knowledge of Ravel's music should not hesitate.

Ottorino RESPIGHI; Ildebrando PIZZETTI Violin Sonatas   Elmar Oliveira (violin); Robert Koenig (piano); (recorded 10 April 1998)  ARTEK AR-0001-2 [54.40] [RB]

There is a high calorific value to Oliveira and Koenig's advocacy and this is accentuated by a warmly veuiled pianosound. There are decent (English only) liner notes. Shortish playing time offset by engaged performances and good repertoire choice.

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Sheherazade: Berlin PO/Karajan Capriccio Espagnol Berlin PO/Maazel Flight of the Bumblebee Philharmonia/Ashkenazy Russian Easter Festival Overture  Concertgebouw /Markevitch Tsar Saltan suite Philharmonia/Ashkenazy Symphony No 2 Antar Gothenburg SO/Jarvi Golden Cockerel suite Concerts Lamoureux/Markevitch DG PANORAMA 469 187-2 2CDs CD1 [77.05] CD2 [78.26] [RB]

An extremely good, reasonably well documented and very generous collection. Don't hesitate.

Rossini Gala: Spectacular Arias ROSSINI: Il Barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum (grB); Una voce poco fa (duz); La calunnia è un venticello (jpD); La Cambiale di Matrimonio: Come tacer … Vorrei spiegarvi il giubilo (anw); La Cenerentola: Nacqui all'affanno (cny); Guglielmo Tell: Non mi lasciare .. O muto asil del pianto … Corriam! Voliam! (fmvC); S'allontanano alfine! … Selva opaca (btx); L'Italiana in Algeri: Pria di dividerci … Dite: chi è quella femmina? (cehilqD), Otello: Assissa a piè d'un salice (duz); Semiramide: Bel raggio lusinghier (aksA). various singers Decca 458 247-2 [75'36] [CH]

A better than average compilation given detailed treatment by Christopher Howell

Nino ROTA  Chamber Music Trio for clarinet, cello and piano (1973), Sonata for Viola and Piano (1935), Trio for flute, violin and piano (1958), Sonata for Violin and Piano (1937) Ensemble Nino Rota Chandos CHAN 9832 [62:56] [GD]

Anti-neurotic, indeed almost anti-20th Century in their civilised elegance, Rota's compositions happily reflect a personality who wrote music to appeal to the listener rather than the theoretician.

[Part 1]  [Part 2]
[Part 3] [Part 4]  [Part 5]        

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

Any opinions expressed in reviews or articles on this site are those of the author and  do not necessarily represent the views of the site owner, Len Mullenger or the Editors.  Reviewers and authors retain copyright in their work unless it has been paid for or commissioned by the site owner.

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