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

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Gustav MAHLER Symphony No.1 in D minor  (with "Blumine" movement added)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Yoel Levi Telarc CD-80545 [62.14] [TD]

On its own this is a well-played, superbly recorded version of Mahler's First. In comparison with versions already before us, the shortcomings become apparent.

Gustav MAHLER Symphony No.3 in D minor Nathalie Stutzman (Contralto)  Women of The Dallas Symphony Chorus, Texas Boys Choir, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by Andrew Litton Delos DE 3248 [100.11] [TD]

The greatest interpreters have all knocked about the world and been knocked about by it - Horenstein, Bernstein, Barbirolli, Adler. Litton gives every impression of not falling into this category as what he gives us is an all too sophisticated, contrived and ultimately rather complacent reading that makes me wonder if he really believes in Mahler's vision or whether he isn't, in effect, rather embarrassed by it.

Gustav MAHLER ( 1860 -1911) Symphony No 5   Dallas Symphony Orchestra Andrew Litton(cond) Recorded Live in Concert Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, Texas. September 1993 DDD Dorian DOR-90193 [71.00] [HD]

A pedestrian and uninspiring recording that lacks much of what a good performance of Mahler needs.

Gustav MAHLER Symphony No.9 Songs from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn"* Brigitte Fassbaender (Mezzo-soprano)* Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone)* Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken Conducted by Hans Zender [117:53] CPO 999 479-2  [117:53] [TD]

A unique coupling which makes a persuasive purchase. However the symphony is the weak link in being in the end just too emotionally detached. But the vocal partnership for the Wunderhorn songs is absorbing and rewarding along with Zender's fine accompaniment of it.

Gustav MAHLER Symphony No.10 in F sharp minor (Performing version by Deryck Cooke) Radio-Symphonie-Orchester, Berlin Conducted by Riccardo Chailly Decca 466 955-2 [78.45] [TD]

In terms of recorded sound this is the best Mahler/Cooke Tenth currently available. As an interpretation it is imbued with polish, nobility and integrity. Rattle and Sanderling penetrate deeper but Chailly has much to admire.

Nicholas MARSHALL (1942- ) Songs & Instrumental music   James Bowman (Counter tenor): Alison Wells (Soprano): Jon Turner (Recorder): Helen Sanderson and Neil Smith (Guitars): Keith Swallow (Piano). Forsyth CD FS003 [CS-S]

For each of the participants in this excellently balanced recording the disc is something of a showcase - and the composer Nicholas Marshall is well served.

MEDTNER Piano Music Vol.1 ('Fairy Tales' and short pieces) Hamish Milne (piano)
CRD 3338 (ADD, 54.56) [PGW]

This reissue from 1977 gives an opportunity to hear an important Medtner pioneer, playing a well selected sequence of Medtner's shorter pieces

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809 - 1847) Symphony No 3 in A Minor. Op 56 "Scottish" [38.12] Midsummer Night's Dream, Overture Op 21 and Incidental Music. Op 61* [39.45] Jennifer Vyvyan (sop)*, Marion Lowe (sop)* Female Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden* London Symphony Orchestra  Peter Maag Recorded April 1960 (Symphony); Feb 1957 Kingsway Hall, London. ADD DECCA Legends 466 990-2 [79.25] [HD]

This record is something special and should be snapped up before it goes into the black hole where CDs seem to disappear to so quickly these days. Surely a strong candidate for a Record of the Month.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809 - 1847) String Quartet No 2 in A Minor., String Quintet No 2 in B Flat Major., String Quintet No 1 in A Major. Octet in E Flat Major. Hausmusik London
Virgin veritas VBD 5 61809 2 [123.17] [HD]

An excellent double disc of period instrument performance that can be highly recommended. Try not to miss this one.

MOZART  Piano Sonatas Volume 4. Sonata in A, K.331, Sonata in D, K.576, Sonata in C, K.309, Sonata in B flat, K.281. Jeno Jando (piano) Naxos 8.550448 (DDD) (74.14) [DW]

Here are some very good performances of Mozart and at £4.99 it is a bargain. For grade 7 and 8 students having to learn these pieces it is an excellent example to emulate.

NIELSEN  Symphony no. 1 in G minor;  Symphony no.2' The Four Temperaments' Royal Scottish Orchestra, Bryden Thomson Chandos CHAN 88800 (DDD) (62.35) [DW] has to consider all the factors such as tempi, interpretation, faithfulness to the score, recorded sound quality and whether the spirit of the music is both caught and realised. Thomson does all of this.

NIELSEN Symphony no. 4 'The Inextinguishable' Symphony no. 5 Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Michael Schønwandt Dacapo 8 224156 (76 minutes)

does not ignite

PIAZZOLLA  InTime InTime Quintet Alba ABCD 110 [57:38] [GD]

Tremendous fun.

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

These are undoubtedly fascinating performances (superbly played), but I would not want to return to them often.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 - 1943) Piano Concerto No 4 in G Minor. Op. 40 [27.46] Paganini Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra in A Minor. Op. 43 [25.13] Four Piano pieces. Op. 1 [14.08] Piotr Dimitriev (piano) Russian Philharmonic Orchestra Samuel Friedmann (conductor) ARTE NOVA 74321 72108 2 [67.46] [HD]

On a bargain label this disc is well worth investigating. The Variations in particular will almost certainly please.

RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Etudes Tableaux, Six Preludes Sviatoslav Richter (piano)
rec: Etudes Tableaux DDD 1988, Preludes ADD 1971 reissued from Olympia REGIS RRC1022 [74.30] [RB]

A classic disc with excellence only tangentially compromised by sound quality.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Wind Quintets - C minor, Op. 91 No. 6; F, Op. 88 No. 6. Michael Thompson Wind Quintet. Naxos 8.554228 [DDD] [68'41][CC]

Tremendously popular during Reicha's lifetime, these quintets are now well known mainly to wind players. This is not entirely fair on them, as they display a freshness of invention that is most invigorating.

Wolfgang RIHM Pursued Form; Hidden Forms;Chiffre 1;Silence to be beaten Klangforum Wien/Sylvain Cambreling/ Marino Formenti (piano) Kairos 0012072KAI [47.47] [PW]

The music on this release is mostly rather obscure and (to my ears) not listener-friendly; the notes by Rihm himself are even more obscure - totally impenetrable and unhelpful.

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