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SAINT SAENS Suite algerienne, Op. 60, 'La Princess Jaune' - Op.30 Maria Costanza Nocentini Carlo Allemano, Cantemus Swiss Italian Orchestra Francis Travis Chandos CHAN 9837 64m. [GF]

Chandos provide a full libretto and very intriguing notes whilst the recordings are spectacularly open, although the Algerian Suite could have done with a little more intimacy. I have no knowledge of another 'Princess jaune' in the catalogues so collectors should snap up this issue which is indeed luxury programming.

Ryiuchi SAKAMOTO (b. 1952) Piano music Chitose Okashiro (piano) rec Jan 2000, Tokyo PRO-PIANO PPR224532 [63.23] [RB]

Impressionistically nostalgic fare with a sprinkling of jazz and avant-garderie.

SALIERI  Falstaff RSO Stuttgart/Ostmann with John deCarlo as Falstaff ARTHUS 100 022 [120 mins] [PGW]

It is a joy to watch and the direction for stage (Michael Hampe) and for the TV cameras is ideal.

SCHOENBERG: Chamber Symphony no. 2, Accompaniment to a Film Scene, Verklärte Nacht Ulster Orchestra Takuo Yuasa Naxos 8.554371 (60 minutes) [TB]

Anyone who believes that Schoenberg is approachable only for the specialist listener should hear this disc. All three works bear eloquent testimony to the composer's warm romanticism, but only one of them - the celebrated Verklärte Nacht (1899) - was written during the earlier part of his career.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828)  CD1 [74.03] Symphony No 8 in B Minor*. D759 "Unfinished" [23.00] Symphony No 9 in C Major* D 944 "The Great" [51.03] CD2 [71.45] Quintet in A Major **. D667 "The Trout" [39.11] Moment Musicaux***. D780. [27.57] Military march for Piano Duet****. D733 no 1. [ 4.18] Berlin Philharmonic / Karl Böhm * Members of the Amadeus Quartet (augmented)** Norbert Brainin (vn), Peter Schidlof (viola) Martin Lovett (cello), Emil Gilels (piano), Rainer Zepperitz (d/bass) Wilhelm Kempff (pno)*** Paul Badura-Skoda, Jörg Demus(pianos)**** Recorded 1966 (Symphony No 8);1963 Symphony No 9); 1976 (Trout);1968 (Moments musicaux);1965 (March) ADD DG Panorama 469 196-2 [145.48] [HD]

Schubert's Unfinished, the Great C major and the Trout. All for £8. Need I say more?

SCHUMANN (1810-56) Symphony No. 1 in B flat, Op. 38, 'Spring'a. Kinderszenen, Op. 15b. Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129c. Fantasie in C, Op. 17d. Arabeske in C, Op. 18e. Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 5fe. cMstislav Rostropovich (cello); bWilhelm Kempff, deMaurizio Pollini (pianos); aVienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein; cLeningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky; eBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Claudio Abbado DG Panorama 469 199-2 [bcdADD/aefDDD] [145'12] [CC]

A marvellous set, only marginally marred by Kempff's contribution.

SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Preparation for Final Mystery (realised by Alexander Nemtin):- (1) Universe [41.50] (2) Mankind [52.03] (3) Transfiguration [65.51] Nuances (ballet based on late piano works, orch Alexander Nemtin) [30.21] Alexei Lubimov (piano) Alexander Ghindin (piano) Thomas Trotter (organ) Anna-Kristiina Kaappola (sop) Ernst Senff Chor St Petersburg Chamber Choir Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester/Vladimir Ashkenazy DECCA 466 329-2 3CDs [72.11+52.03+65.51] [RB]

An Ashkenazy and Decca adventure into a speculative Scriabin work. It is done with great style, superbly recorded and brilliantly documented.

Roger SESSIONS (1896-1985) Symphony No.1 (1927); Symphony No.2 (1946); Symphony No.3 (1957)  Japan PO/Akeo Watanabe 18.00; New York Philharmonic-Symphony/Dimitri Mitropoulos - mono 25.18; Royal PO/Igor Buketoff 30.08 COMPOSERS RECORDINGS INC CRI CD 573 [73.26] [RB]

A valuable introduction to the music of Sessions

Roger SESSIONS (1896-1985); Stephan WOLPE (1902-1972) Violin Concerto (1935) [28.53] Paul Zukofsky (violin) Symphony (1956) [25.53]   Orchestre Philharmonique/Gunther Schuller (Sessions); Orchestra of the 20th Century/Arthur Weisburg  CRI American masters CD676  [54.57] [RB]

The Wolpe is more difficult by several orders of magnitude. In the Sessions there are lines and continuity. In this symphony there is discontinuity and fragmentation, rowdy and distrait. I found Wolpe's battering language of ideas that smash against each other and never quite meet an obstacle to appreciation.

SIBELIUS Karelia Suite - Finnish Radio SO/Okko Kamu Valse Triste - Berlin PO/Karajan Swan of Tuonela - Berlin PO/Karajan Symphony No. 2 - Berlin PO/Kamu Finlandia - Berlin PO/Karajan Violin Concerto - Christian Ferras/Berlin PO/Karajan Symphony No. 5 - Berlin PO/Karajan DG PANORAMA 469 202-2 CD1 [77.03] CD2 [74.36] [RB]

A great collection with a single misfire in the shape of the Kamu Sibelius 2. A memorable bargain.

STANFORD Songs Vol. 2.   Stephen Varcoe: baritone, Clifford Benson: piano.   Hyperion CDA67124 77m DDD.[CH]

In my comments on the first volume of this series I noted that the songs chosen were mostly very early or very late works. Now we have a good representation of the strength and variety of the central, most important, part of Stanford's career.

STORACE Una Sera Siciliana, Harpsichord Music Annamari Pölhö with Ballo della Battalia
Alba ABCD 150 [57.59] [PW]

These are mostly substantial pieces requiring virtuosity and imagination, both well in evidence here.

CLEMENS KRAUSS CONDUCTS RICHARD STRAUSS. Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, Also sprach Zarathustra Op. 30, Aus Italien Op. 16, 'Salome': excerpts, 'Sinfonia Domestica', Op. 53, 'Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme', Suite Op. 60, Don Quixote Op. 35, Till Eulenspiegel Op. 35, Don Juan, Op. 20. Christel Goltz, Julius Patzak, Pierre Fournier, Ernst Moraweg, Wiener Philharmoniker Clemens Krauss Testament SBT 1183-6 4 discs oas 76m, 73m, 79m, 73m ADD (Recorded 1950-53 in the Musikvereinsaal Vienna). [GF]

It is indeed justly fitting that Clemens Krauss' authorative Strauss series is now available in magnificently remastered sound on Testament....The reissue of these tapes on low cut Decca Eclipse LPs was their last incarnation and they now make a triumphant reappearance after over twenty years of unjust neglect.

Strauss: Famous Scenes RICHARD STRAUSS: Arabella: Aber der Richtige, wenns einen gibt (acko); Ariadne auf Naxos: Es ist alles vergebens … Es gibt ein Reich (ejo); Elektra: Allein! Weh, ganz allein (dko); Die Frau ohne Schatten: Sieh - Amma - sieh … Zum Lebenswasser! … Wehe, mein Mann! (fikl); Der Rosenkavalier: Mein Gott! Es was nicht mehr als eine Farce (bchkp); Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils (kn); Closing Scene (gkm). various artists Decca 458 250-2 [76'29] [CH]

If you do not know this repertoire yet, get this disc and start from the Arabella duet. Gorgeous music, gorgeous voices; you'll be hooked for ever.

STRAUSS Josephs Legende Staatskapelle Dresden/Giuseppe Sinopoli DG 463 493-2  [63'54"] [PW]

Not a masterpiece, but worth collecting by Strauss-buffs.

Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996) Piano Trio (1953) 26.03 * String Quartet No. 6 (1976) 13.34 ** Sextet (wind instruments and harp) (1990) 13.13 *** * composer (piano); Viktor Pikaizen (violin); Evgeni Altman (cello) rec 1960 ** Andrei Korsakov (violin); Margarita Peletsis (violin); Aleksander Petrov (viola); Andrei Demin (cello) rec 1982 *** Leonid Lebedev (flute); Olga Tomilova (oboe); Vladimir Permyakov (clarinet); Vyacheslav Podkopaev (bassoon); Viktor Galkin (horn); Emilia Moskvitina (harp) rec 1998   Various  BOHEME Classical CDBMR 907084 [56.53] [RB]

Three very fine works you are unlikely to know. What other riches await us from the Soviet Union's prolific radio archives?

TCHAIKOVSKY The Seasons Op.37b, Dumka, Theme and Variations Olga Tverskaya (playing on an Erard Piano of 1867, restored by David Winston) OPUS 111 OPS 30-304 [61.38] DDD (Supplied with a free sampler disc of Russian Works)  recorded January 2000 at Great Dixter House, Kent. [JP]

The cycle is played beautifully here by Olga Tverskaya on a period piano by Erard of 1867, lovingly restored by David Winston..... The cycle is played beautifully here by Olga Tverskaya on a period piano by Erard of 1867, lovingly restored by David Winston.

TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto in D, op.35 Meditation, op.42/1 Romeo and Juliet: Fantasy-Overture Dmitry Sitkovetsky (violin) Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner
Hänssler CD 98.346 [68'08"] [CH]

In short, Sitkovetsky's admirers will be pleased to hear him in the two concerted pieces and we may hope that he will learn to express his love of the music less indulgently in the years to come, but Romeo really will not do.

TCHAIKOVSKY String Quartet No. 3 in E flat Minor, Op. 30 String Quartet in B Flat Major, (1865) Four Movements for String Quartet New Haydn Quartet, Budapest - Janos Horvath, Peter Sarosi,(violins) Gyorgy Porzolt,(viola) and Gabor Magyar (cello) recorded 2-5/10/95, in the Unitarian Church, Budapest. DDD Naxos 8.550848 [55.12] [JP]

The four players play very well together and all parts within these two quartets are able to be heard clearly and effectively. I therefore have no qualms whatsoever about recommending this disc, as I did its predecessor. Both the recording and documentation are first class.

TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893) CD1 [75.56] Suite. The Nutcracker. Op 71a* [23.07] Symphony No 5 in E Minor. Op 64 [52.40] CD2 [81.16] Fantasy Overture Romeo and Juliet. [22.39] Symphony No 6 in B Minor "Pathétique" [58.15] Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra* New York Philharmonic Orchestra Mstislav Rostropovich* Leonard Bernstein Recorded 1979*. 1990 ( Romeo & Juliet, Symphony No 5), 1987 (Symphony No 6). Recording venues and exact dates not listed. ADD*. DDD DG PANORAMA 469 214-2 [157.12] [HD]

A bit of a curate's egg but still a bargain.

TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) String Concertos. Musica Antiqua Köln on original instruments Director Reinhard Goebel Recorded Sept 1999, Köln, Deutschland Radio. This is a co-production with Deutschland Radio, Koln.DDD ARCHIV 463 074-2 [65.06] [HD]

If Telemann is for you, then you needn't hesitate to buy this recording.

The Best of Telemann Various artists. Naxos 8.556689 [DDD] [71'07] [CC]

Telemann is, I believe, underestimated to this day. Unfortunately this disc will do little to remedy the situation.

LORIS TJEKNAVORIAN (b.1937) Piano Concerto (1961 rev 1974) ARNO HARUTYUNI BABDZHANIAN (1921-1983) Heroic Ballade (1949) Nocturne (1988?) Armen Babakhanian (piano) Armenian PO/Loris Tjeknavorian rec Yerevan, March 1996. ASV CD DCA 984 [57.56] [RB]

Colourful music. Not too original in the gorgeous Babadzhanian (Rachmaninov and Gershwin) but spiky and captivating in Tjeknavorian.

TORKE Book of Proverbs/ Four Proverbs Netherlands Radio Choir & Philharmonic Orchestra/De Waart with soloists; Argo Band/Michael Torke with Catherine Bott (soprano) Decca 466 721-2 [52.11] [PW]

These jolly settings of biblical proverbs are rather like old fashioned sermons for simple folk; the words repeated in various permutations until they are fully absorbed with, hopefully, their moral messages intact.

EDUARD TUBIN (1905-1982) Symphony No 2 Legendary (1937) 30.57 Symphony No 5 (1946) 30.21 Estonian National SO/Arvo Volmer recTallinn Jan/Oct 1998 ALBA ABCD 141 [61.18] [RB]

The recording is all you could ask. No need to hesitate. Further instalments are impending and will be worth the short wait.

Giuseppe VERDI
(1813-1901) CD1 [81.59] Nabucco (Extracts) [12.25] La Traviata (Extracts} [35.39] Rigoletto (Extracts) [33.55] CD2 [76.27] La forza del destino (Extracts) [21.09] Il Travatore (Extracts) [30.56] Aida (Extracts) [24.22]   DG PANORAMA 469 217-2 [158.26][HD]

Many of the popular Verdi bits. Recommended

VIVALDI  Gloria RV 589, Magnificat RV611, concertos RV 243 & RV 563 Concerto Italiano directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini  Ensemble vocal régional de Champagne-Ardenne, Chef de choeur Françoise Lasserre Opus III OPS 1951 *[59:49 & bonus free sampler disc 62:47] [GD]

I laughed the first time I pressed play. Surely they must be joking. Had it been an LP I would have checked I hadn't accidentally changed the speed to 45rpm. Imagine a comedy sketch with the conductor constantly glancing at his watch, then ever more feverishly accelerating his baton.  BUT Gary went on to give it a maximum score and it is two discs for a fiver!

VIVALDI  Musica Sacra Vol 1 Sabat Mater RV 621, Clarae stellae, scintillate RV 625 & concertos RV 556, 544a, 579 & sonata RV 130 Concerto Italiano directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini  Sara Mingardo, contralto   Opus III OPS 30-261 [70:46] [GD]

....This is Mary's song at the foot of Christ's Cross, and in this performance we are usefully reminded in a way that no male singer ever can of the sheer horror and despair of the historical event from a mother's perspective. ....

DVD REVIEW WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan & Isolde Tristan, Jon Frederic West Isolde, Waltraud Meier King Mark, Kurt Moll Kurwenal, Bernd Weikl Brangane, Marjana Lipovsek Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper Bayerisches Staatsorchester, conducted by Zubin Mehta Arthaus Musik DVD 100056 Full Price, playing time: 241 minutes (2 discs)

I would guess that this Tristan & Isolde represents a coming-of-age of opera on DVD

WAGNER Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) Theo Adam, Anja Silja, Martti Talvela, Ernst Kozub,Anneliese Burmesiter, Gerhard Unger, BBC Chorus,New Philharmonia Orchestra
Conducted by Otto Klemperer EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS5 67408 2 [152.11] [TD]

For Klemperer's austere, concentrated and spacious conducting, Anja Silja's unique, controversial Senta and Theo Adam's noble, tortured Dutchman, this recording is not to be missed.


Andy Daly is not impressed

HUGO WOLF (1860-1903) Orchestral Songs Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (bar) Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Stefan Soltesz rec 26-28 March, 8 June 1990 Bavarian Radio. ORFEO C 219 911 A [55.27] [RB]

Typically fine production from Orfeo. Discriminating choice of repertoire and artists. Fine recording. Playing time could, with advantage, have been longer.

[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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