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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PART 5  [Part 1]  [Part 2]
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A Century of British Women Composers Music by Rebecca Clarke, May Mukle, Marie Dare, Margaret Hubicki, Imogen Holst and others. Cello: Catherine Wilmers Piano: Simon Marlow
ASV Quicksilva CDQS6245 [CS-S]

What this recording does above all is demonstrate the high quality and richly expressive musicianship that is to be found among relatively minor composers, well known in their own circles, yet too often only names to a wider audience. Even minor poets can find a universal place in anthologies, and only this kind of recording can do a like service for music.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF LEO: Classical Music for You and your Cat.
Symphony No. 5, K21 - Allegro. Divertimento in G, K138 - Andante. Handel Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. Dvorák Serenade, Op. 22 - Moderato. Shostakovich Ballet Suite No. 1 - Dance. Bach Oboe Sonata in G minor - Adagio. Beethoven Symphony No. 6 - First Movement . Chopin Cello Sonata, Op. 65 - Largo. Handel Water Music, Suite No. 3 - Minuet; Gigue. Grieg Holberg Suite, Op. 40 - Preludium. Vivaldi Winter - Largo. Puccini Gianni Schicchi - O mio babbino caro. Scarlatti Sonata in C, L104. Humperdinck Hansel and Gretel - Evening Prayer. Various artists. Delos DE1616 [ADD/DDD] [55'28] [CC]

I once played some Ligeti to a cat (well, OK, it happened to be in the same room). It meeowed, hoisted its tail in the air and left, so I suppose on that showing the Delos team have done right to play it safe with repertoire…

ARMADA Collection: Music from the Courts of England and Spain.  Fretwork  Virgin Veritas 2 CDs VBD5 61821 2 [CD1: 61:38] [CD2: 59:15] [IL]

A feast for lovers of 16th/17th centuries music.

THE ART OF THE LIED   Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau & Gerald Moore/Jörg Demus/ Christoph Eschenbach (Piano) Fritz Wunderlich & Hubert Giesen (Piano) Christa Ludwig & Irwin Gage (Piano) Jessye Norman & Daniel Barenboim (Piano)   Deutsche Grammophon 1 CD-pluscore 445 188-2 (62.24) [PGW]

This is a CD-pluscore release whose potential importance for the record industry cannot be exaggerated; a benchmark for the future.

Battalia Ensemble CDs of 17th & 18th Century Chamber Music ALBA RECORDS ABCD 107, 112, 113, 125, 139 and NCD 10 [PW]

It is salutary to be reminded that, specialists though they be, most of the players are obliged to earn their livings in Finland playing a variety of music, and some participated in the Avanti Orchestra at Porvoo.

CARUSO 2000  The original Caruso recordings with a modern orchestral accompaniment.
BMG 74321 69766 2 [64:28] [IL] [LM]]

An interesting experiment blending Caruso's acoustic voice recording with a setreo orchestral backing

Collector's Choice

[10 CDs only available from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra] [CA]

This latest box from Chicago contains some inspired choices.

CZECH PHILHARMONIC HORNS Andrew Downes Sonata for eight horns. Beethoven Egmont Overture arranged for eight horns and tuba by Alan Civil Christer Danielson Concertante Suite for tuba and four horns Jindrich Feld Cassation for four horns Czech Philharmonic Horns.  Classicprint CPVP12CD [DW]

The sweetness of some of the horn playing is simply exquisite. The performance is unequalled. All who have heard this recording has praised it highly and rightly so....This is a must. It deserves to be a great success!

FINE ARTS BRASS PLAY BAROQUE Transcriptions for brass quintet of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi Fine Arts Brass NIMBUS NI 5651 [64' 56"] [CA]

Throughout this CD Fine Arts Brass display a beautiful sound, instrumental brilliance and sterling musicianship. The recording is naturally balanced and tonally faithful. In short a very enjoyable CD, and I'm going to play track 11 again!

LOVE SONGS: DVORÁK , MARTINU , JANÁCEK Magdalena Kozená (mezzo-soprano) Graham Johnson (piano) Recorded London. Rosslyn Hill Chapel 10 / 1998 DDD DG 463 472-2 [67.30][HD]

A lovely fresh new voice and a singer for the future.

Music without Boundaries Larry Coryell (guitar) Hari Prasad Chaurasia (flute) George Brooks (saxophone) T.H. 'Vikku' Vinayakam (ghatam) Swapan Chaudhuri (tabla) John Wubbenhorst (keyboard) Navras Records NRCD 6001 [AW]

This CD is truly a record of music making without boundaries at its most sophisticated, with sounds and rhythms tumbling out in such profusion as to make it almost impossible at times to keep pace. Its richness warrants replaying many times

NATURE POEMS. Piano Music by William Baines and Eugene Goosens. Alan Cuckston (piano) FEW 119 CD [DW]

This music of William Baines has no originality or strength. It has nothing to say and takes a long time to say it.  The Goossens is far better but still poor music.....he could not write for the piano either.

DVD REVIEW: New Year's Gala 1997 - A Tribute to Carmen Works by Bizet, Rachmaninov, Sarasate, Ravel, de Falla & Brahms Berliner Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado
Arthaus Musik (Region 0), No: 100 026 (85 minutes) [MB]

It is often the case that Gala concerts can end up being rather dull affairs. Not so this remarkable DVD of a famous 1997 New Year's Eve concert. The fizz of the evening is palpable from the orchestra's blazing opening prelude to Bizet's Carmen and continues right through to the closing piece, Brahms' Hungarian Dance No 5. Not one performance disappoints.

Palace Music of Rajasthan   Saraswati Devi Dhandhada with musicians. Navras NRCD 3011 [57.24] [PW]

A good introduction to a whole world of pleasure for people who have been intrigued by the sounds of Indian music but are still a little nervous to embark upon purchasing Indian Classical CDs.

SHADOW BEHIND THE IRON SUN Evelyn Glennie Improvisations Evelyn Glennie (percussion) with Michael Brauer, David Motion, Oliver Walker, Philip Smith & David Hobson. BMG 09026 63406-2 [71.11] [PGW]

The new Glennie/Brauer CD of improvisations shadow behind the iron sun is a vastly impressive demonstration of the range of percussive possibilities from a huge array of instruments, from evocative wisps of sound to tumultuous orgies of violence

The Song of the Ney  Various music from the Persian classical tradition   Hossein 'Omoumi, ney - Simâ Binâ, vocal   Nimbus N17060/1 [CD1: 70:05 CD2: 57:28] [GD]

This set won't be for everyone, and is really beyond classical music in the accepted Western tradition. However, it is part of a classical tradition of at least as long standing, and being so well documented, the discs make an excellent place to start exploring beyond the confines of the European classical world. Highly recommended.

The Teddy Bears Picnic: A Musical Menagerie from America's Golden Age The New Columbian Brass Band  George Foreman (conductor) Dorian DOR-93201 [60.42] DDD  [HD]

Well played and well recorded, if you want something a little different - try this.

MUSIC FOR WIND QUINTET. Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Wind Quintet, Op. 43. Otto MORTENSEN (1907-1986) Wind Quintet. Jorgen JERSILD (b. 1913) Serenade. Henning WELLEJUS (b. 1919) Wind Quintet. Wind Quintet of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Dacapo 8.224151 [DDD] [71'44][CC]

Nielsen's Quintet receives a committed performance from members of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, who enjoy a close rapport and understanding of the musical language....The present disc, however, is certain to provide pleasure for all those curious about twentieth century Danish wind music.

SPREZZATURA LA LUNA: Virtuoso Music of 17th-Century Italy. Ingrid Matthews and Scott Metcalfe: Violins, Emily Walhout: Cello, Byron Schenkman: Harpsichord & Organ. Dorian DOR93200 66m DDD. [GF]

This disc is an interesting combination of various short pieces from the late 16th to 17th centuries and includes some very intriguing styles ranging from the inimitable flourishes of Frescobaldi to the almost unknown prowess of Biagio Marini

Infamia -Tangos de Barcelona   Julia Migenes (mezzo-soprano); Albert Guinovart (piano),
Marcelo Mercadante (bandoleón), Angel Jesús Garcia (violin) and Vincent Ellegiers (cello) Lawrence Foster conducts Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona I Nacional de Catalunya DECCA 466 764-2 [61:39] [Zara] [IL]

Throw away your preconceptions of the tango and enjoy this album for what it is -- a joyful, exuberant, exceedingly colourful, and sometimes dreamy celebration of the tango as arranged for a symphony orchestra with piano soloist (and others) and vocalist.

Waterfront  Eight Works by Liverpool Based Composers: music by Robin Hartwell, Jonathan Powles, Stephen Pratt, James Wishart   performed by Psappha   British Music Label BML003/034 [CD1: 49:40 - CD:2 43:03] [GD]

Whether for ensemble or solo piano, and regardless of the described intent and theory behind the various pieces, this all sounds essentially the same. Lugubrious, drained of all life and passion, melody and human warmth, random patterns of a-rhythmic notes scattered across the soundscape, so pathetic the joke wore off decades ago leaving detritus tedious beyond belief.


The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Musgrave Ritual, The Cardboard Box, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.   David Timson.   Naxos Audiobooks NA319112 212m DDD. [GF]

Spoken Word Release of the Month.

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


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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