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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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ALPHABETICAL LISTING

Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b.1952) Ten Studies for piano (1983-98) Six Pieces for Violin, Horn and Piano (1984) Walden for oboe, two clarinets, saxophone and bassoon (1978, this version 1995) Anne Marie Anbildskov (piano) Anne Soe Iwan (violin)
Preben Iwan (horn) Joakim Sam Thomsen (oboe) Anna Klett (clarinet) Soren Elbo (clarinet) Jeanette Balland (saxophone) Signe Haughland (bassoon) Recorded at the Radio House, Copenhagen, January 2000 and May 2000 DA CAPO 8.224155 [54.08]

As far as I can tell the performances are ideal and the music is played with care and understanding. The booklet notes cast some useful light upon a fascinating composer of whom we will certainly hear more.

Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Le Postillon de Lonjumeau, operetta (complete with dialogue, in French) (1836) John Aler (Chapelou/Saint-Phar), June Anderson (Madeleine/Madame de Latour), Francois Le Roux (Le Marquis de Corcy), Jean-Phillippe Lafont (Biju/Alcindor), Daniel Ottewaere (Bourdon), Balvina de Courcelles (Rose) The Jean Laforge Choral Ensemble
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra/ Thomas Fulton Rec. Salle Garnier, Monte-Carlo 1985 EMI 574 1062 [CD1 48.46 CD2 47.33]

This 2 CD set is a mid-price reissue of a CD set released in the 1986. The recording is excellent with strong treble and considerable vocal clarity accompanied by rather brief notes, yet one can be assured of hearing prominent singers in a good performance.... see Full Review

Kalevi AHO (b.1949) Symphonies Nos. 2 & 7 Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä Recorded Jan 1998, Church of the Cross, Lahti BIS-CD-936 [68.00]

Two symphonies from Aho: the compelling one-movement Second and the Capek-inspired Seventh; the latter a work both post-modernist and inherently critical of post-modernism. Excellent orchestral playing and high production standards.

William ALWYN (1905-1895) Film Music Vol. 2 Music from: The Crimson Pirate; A Night to Remember (Main Title); Green Girdle; Take My Life – Aria*; The Card; Desert Victory; The Winslow Boy; In Search of the Castaways; and Libera me from Svengali.† Susan Bullock * (soprano), Canzonetta*† BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba (recorded New Broadcasting House, Manchester, June 2001) CHANDOS CHAN 9956 [77:29] [IL]

An excellent well-contrasted compilation of important British film music that needed to be rescued from oblivion and performed with panache and conviction. … for Full Review

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphony No 7, Op 45 (1941/2) "Sinfonia Romantica" Symphony No 8, Op 48 (1944/45) SWR Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart/Ari Rasilainen Rec 2000, Stuttgart CPO 999 641-2 [62.43] [LF]

If you want to complete your Atterberg Symphonies this can be recommended, but if you just want to explore the best of Atterberg, go for the earlier symphonies. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750): Cantatas: ‘Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens’, BWV 148 ‘Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlosen’, BWV 48 ‘Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim’, BWV 89 ‘Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben’, BWV 109 - Midori Suzuki (sop); Robin Blaze (alto); Gerd Turk (ten); Chiyuki Urano (bass) Bach Collegium Japan directed by Masaaki Suzuki. Recorded in the chapel of Kobe Shoin Women’s University, Japan 22 – 25 February, 2000 BIS CD-1081 [66.04] [JQ]

Four fine and varied cantatas, all very well served by Suzuki and his forces, who clearly have an intuitive understanding of Bach’s many-faceted music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. John Passion Christine Schäfer, Soprano (Anxcilla & Arias) Yvi Jänicke, Alto Adalbert Kraus, Tenor (Evangelist & Arias) Reinhard Hagen, Bass (Christ & Aria 24) Berthold Possemeyer, Bass Timo Schöning, Tenor (Servus) Gerold Spingler, Baritone (Peter) Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben, Eckhard Weyand Rec: April - May 1990, Lukaskirche, Stuttgart, Germany HAENSSLER CD 94.009 [118.34] [KM]

This is a good recording of one of Bach’s finest vocal works. Given its budget price, it is highly recommended, although there are better recordings of this work (such as those by Suzuki, on Bis, and Herreweghe, on Harmonia Mundi). A worthy recording that will not disappoint, though it tends to be lacking in emotion.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Te Deum André Isoir, organ Ensemble Metamorphoses Ensemble Coeli Ensemble Terra Rec: 2000, Eglise Saint-Thomas d’Aquin, Paris. CALLIOPE 9722 [54.53] [KM]

Here is a unique recording of music that Bach never wrote. The combination of organ chorales and vocal sections works quite well. The atmosphere of the disc is very compelling, and the performances excellent. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II BWV 870-893 [154.11] Gary Cooper, harpsichord Rec: March 2001, St Michael's Church, Great Tew, England. ASV CD GAX 254 [154.11] [KM]

This is probably a disc for those quite familiar with the Well-Tempered Clavier who are interested hearing it performed in a radically different manner. Neither exceptionally good nor poor, this is a unique performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concertos Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052 Concerto No. 3 in D major, BWV 1054 Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056 Concerto No. 6 in F major, BWV 1057 Cyprien Katsaris (piano) Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra/János Rolla Rec for Teldec 1986 APEX 09274 08192 [63.13] [TB]

Marvellous performances of marvellous music. Katsaris is the undoubted star of the show, leading with lively virtuoso playing. The vivid sound does everyone justice too. ...see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach Edition Complete works on 160 CDs FULL DETAILS AT FOOT OF REVIEW BRILLIANT CLASSICS 99697 [approx. 160 hours]

You owe it to yourself to get this set - at its super-bargain price, even those recordings you don't like will not cause too much disappointment, but the quality of the excellent ones is such that you will certainly be delighted. (Note that the cost of some of the recordings in this set that have been licensed from other labels would far exceed the total cost of the entire set.) If only to have the 60 CDs of sacred cantatas, and to discover what is an incredible collection of moving and memorable music, this set is worth having. Treat yourself to 160 CDs of Bach, then, take a few weeks off to enjoy this music. ...see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin BWV 1001 - 1006 Arranged for 8-string guitar Paul Galbraith, 8-string guitar Rec: September 1997, January 1998, First Congregational Church, Los Angeles. DELOS DE 3232 [117.52] [KM]

This is the finest recording of these works for any plucked instrument, and perhaps for any instrument at all. Galbraith’s unique style, coupled with the magnificent sound of his guitar, make this one of the most essential Bach recordings I have ever heard. Buy this disc for a totally new approach to some of Bach’s finest music. ...see Full Review

Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) The Song of Songs - Prelude (1926) Omar Khayyam - Prelude and Camel Caravan (1906) Caristiona (1920) Processional (1893) Thalaba the Destroyer - symphonic poem (1899) RPO/Vernon Handley
rec 20-21 Feb 2001, Walthamstow Assembly Halls, London - DDD HYPERION CDA 67250 [76.50] [RB]

Hyperion should take a deep bow for this latest Bantock salvo which is remarkably strong meat especially in the case of Thalaba and Caristiona.

Sally BEAMISH (b. 1956) Bridging the Day Works for cello and piano Gala Water (1994) for cello solo Bridging the Day (1998) for cello and piano Entre Chien et Loup (1979) for piano solo Lullaby for Owain (1985) for piano solo Kyle Song (1993) for piano solo Iasg (1993) for cello and piano The Wise Maid (2000) for cello solo Sonata for Cello and Piano (1999-2000) Robert Irvine (cello) Sally Beamish (piano) Recorded August 2000 at Danderyd Grammar School, Sweden DDD BIS BIS-CD-1171 [63:55]

The intimate nature and understanding of these performances is evident throughout. A warmly recommended disc that should make many new friends for Sally Beamish’s music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.9 in D minor Op.125 ‘Choral’, Elisabeth Söderström (soprano), Regina Resnik (contralto), Jon Vickers (tenor), David Ward (bass), London Bach Choir, London Symphony Orchestra Pierre Monteux, conductor. Recorded at Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London in June 1962 WESTMINSTER The Legacy 471 216- 2 [68.32] [CF]

The coda is thrillingly fast and conducted with the youthful exuberance of a man sixty years his junior. If you don’t know this recording, you should.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827) Symphonies: No 1 in C major, Op. 21; No 2 in D major, Op. 36; no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 ‘Eroica’; No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60; No 5 in C minor, Op. 67; No 6 in F major, Op. 68 ‘Pastoral’; No 7 in A major, Op. 92; No 8 in F major, Op. 93; No 9 in D minor, Op. 125 ‘Choral’*
Overtures: ‘The Creatures of Prometheus’, Op. 43; ‘Coriolan’, Op. 62; ‘Egmont’, Op. 84
*Yvonne Kenny (soprano); Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano); Patrick Power (tenor); Petteri Salomaa (bass); The Schutz Choir of London The London Classical Players conducted by Sir Roger Norrington Recorded in No 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, 1986-1988 VIRGIN CLASSICS 7243 5 61943 2 8 5 CDs [353.09] [JQ]

One of the most provocative and thoughtful Beethoven cycles ever committed to disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No 5
Symphony No 7
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York Arturo Toscanini conductor Recorded Carnegie Hall New York April 1933 (No 5) and April 1936 (No 7) NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110840 [76.46] [JW]

Seventh: tremendous reserves of expressive power and the rhythmic attack is of galvanizing intensity. A remarkable document. The sound is generally fine on these discs, the restoration is by Mark Obert-Thorn.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto no. 5 in E flat, op. 73 – "Emperor" (1), Cello Sonata in G minor, op. 5/2 (2) Artur Schnabel (pianoforte), London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Malcolm Sargent (1), Gregor Piatigorsky (violoncello) (2) Recorded 24.3.1932, Abbey Road Studio no. 1 (1), 6 & 16.12.1934, Abbey Road Studio no. 3 (2) NAXOS Historical 8.110640 [60.07] [CH]

The Concerto is enthralling and in the Sonata we hear two great musicians enjoying making music together but the recording of the Concerto is foul – does it have to sound so bad?

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No 21 I C major, Op. 53 ‘Waldstein’ Piano Sonata No 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ‘Appassionata’ Piano Sonata No 30 in E major, Op.109 Piano Sonata No 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 Walter Gieseking (piano)
Recorded: 17 & 22 June 1951 in the Kammersaal, Kongresshalle, Zürich (Opp. 53 & 57) 31 August & 1 September, 1955 in No 3 Studio, Abbey Road, London (Opp.109 & 110) EMI GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY CDM 5 67585 2 0 [79.29] [JQ]

Gieseking was more of an ‘instinctive’ player (albeit one blessed with a superb technique). His performances contain occasional fluffs or passages of slightly blurred fingerwork. In my view these matter not one jot.

Great Violinists: Adolf BUSCH (1891 - 1952) Ludwig van BEETHOVEN Violin Sonata No.3 in E flat major, Op. 12, No.3, Violin Sonata No.5 in F major, Op. 24 (Spring) Violin Sonata No.9 in A major, Op. 47 (Kreutzer) Adolf Busch (violin) Rudolf Serkin (piano) Recorded 5th May, 1931, London (tracks 1-3), 17th May, 1933, London (tracks 4-7), 12th December, 1941, New York (tracks 8-10) NAXOS 8.110954 [65.04] [SHJ]

The greatest Beethoven violin sonatas performed by arguably the greatest duo partnership of the last century… at Naxos price! ... see Full Review

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801 – 1835) I Capuleti e i Montecchi Opera in two acts Giulietta…Guisy Devinu(soprano) Romeo…Anna Caterina Antonacci Tebaldo…Luca Canonici (tenor) Lorenzo…Francesco Musinu (baritone) Capellio…Giacomo Prestia (bass) Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro del Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli/Angelo Campori Recorded at Napoli 7th March 1995 and remastered DDD WARNER FONIT 8573 87485 [CD1: 78.58 CD2: 49.7] [RMK]

This would not be my first choice recording of this opera.

Ralph BENATZKY (1884-1957) L’Auberge du Cheval blanc (The White Horse Inn) operetta (with dialogue, in French) Bourvil, Andrine Forli, Michel Dens
René Ducios Choir Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/Félix Nuvolone
Rec. Paris, 1962 EMI 7243 57407021 [CD1 48.46 CD2 47.33] [RW]

This 2 CD set is a reissue of LPs released in 1962. The transfer to CD is acceptable but very different from the superb quality of La Fille de Madam Angot in the same series which was recorded a decade later. see Full Review

Jan Jiri and Frantisek (Franz) BENDA (177-1752 and 1709-1786) Violin Concertos, Vol.1 - Jan Jiri Benda: Concerto in G ,major (edited Samuel Dushkin), Frantisek (Franz) Benda: Concerto in D major (cadenzas Sebastian Benda) and Concerto D minor (cadenzas Lola Benda), Josef Suk and Ariane Pfïster, violins Suk Chamber Orchestra/Christian Benda. Rec: Lichtensteinpalast, Prague (Sound Studio HAMU) 25-28 January 1999. NAXOS 8.553902 [54.32][RB]

The sound on this disc is crisp, well balanced and makes me impatient to hear the rest of what Naxos obviously intends to be a more thorough exploration of this talented family’s extensive output

Paul BEN-HAIM (1897-1984) The Piano Works of Paul Ben-Haim Suite No. 1 Op. 20a (1933); Suite No. 2 Op. 20b (1936); Five Pieces Op. 34 (1943); Sonatina Op. 38 (1946)
"Melody with Variations" Op. 42 (1950); Sonata Op. 49 (1954)
Gila Goldstein – piano
Recorded at Patrych Sound Studios, New York, January- February 2000 CENTAUR CRC 2506 [76.26]

Ben-Haim is the voice of a new Jewish nationalism influenced by folksong yet I touch with the Western tradition. Ben-Haim was clearly a fine pianist. …..see full review

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-69) Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14. Concertgebouw Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis. Recorded in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam in January 1974 [ADD] PHILIPS 50 GREAT RECORDINGS 464 692-2 [55.27] [CC]

Davis's understanding of Berlioz' unique compositional practices is amply demonstrated in this Concertgebouw Symphonie fantastique. The recording is excellent.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-69) Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14. Roméo et Juliette – Love Scene. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi. Recorded in Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio on October 8th-10th, 2000. [DDD] TELARC DSD CD-80578 [71.22] [CC]

At full price, and given the competition, it is hard to give a wholehearted recommendation to this disc. Despite many fascinating moments along the way, one does not enter into Berlioz’ unique world.

Joseph-Ermend BONNAL (1880-1944) String Quartet No. 1 (1919) [33.31] String Quartet No. 2 (1938) [21.08] Quatuor Debussy rec Aizac (07), 6-9 Oct 1999 ARION ARN 68504 [54.39] [RB]

I urge you strongly to seek out Bonnal's sheerly magical impressionistic music.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897) Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 68 (1876). Symphony No. 3 in F Major Op. 90 (1883). NDR Symphony Orchestra – Günter Wand. recorded in the Freidrich-Ebert Halle, Hamburg, 1982 and 1983, DDD, STEREO. RCA 74321 68009-2 [79.12] [JP]

The performance is strong and passionate, although not quite as riveting as the Bruno Walter recording which for me is the greatest performance of this symphony I know. A wonderful release at a super bargain price.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897) Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 - (1878) Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827) Symphony No. 5 in C Minor Op. 67 – (1808) Kyung Wha Chung (violin) Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – Simon Rattle recorded in the Musikverein,Vienna,1-2/11/00 and 18-20/12/00 - DDD. EMI CDC5 57165-2 [73.18] [JP]

Kyung Wha Chung brings to the Brahms immaculate intonation, no extraneous finger noises, no obtrusive wide vibrato, and a character of playing which goes straight to the heart. Her playing is right up there with other great performances and it has given me much pleasure.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 1 (1859) Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Introduction and Allegro Appassionato (1849) Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Capriccio Brillant (1825) Rudolf Serkin (piano)
Philadelphia/Ormandy (Schumann/Mendelssohn); Cleveland/Szell (Brahms) Rec Severance Hall, Cleveland 19-20 Apr 1968 (Brahms); Town Hall, Philadelphia 17 Mar 1964 (Schumann), 4 Apr 1967 (Mendelssohn) SONY ESSENTIAL CLASSICS SBK48166 [74.45] [RB]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 (1881) Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske (1886) Rudolf Serkin (piano) Philadelphia/Ormandy (Strauss); Cleveland/Szell (Brahms) Rec Severance Hall, Cleveland 21-22 Jan 1966 (Brahms); Town Hall, Philadelphia 3 Feb 1966 (Strauss) SONY ESSENTIAL CLASSICS SBK53262 [67.29] [RB]

Serkin is ursine and magisterial but with a feline agility in the quicker music that surprises in one who so naturally expresses the epic. Simply terrific in Brahms 2. As much of a gold standard as Oistrakh in the BMG-Melodiya Sibelius Violin Concerto or Mravinsky in Shostakovich 6.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Motets Op.74 and Op.29 Max REGER (1873-1916) Three Motets Op.110 Tapiola Chamber Choir Juha Kuivanen, conductor Recorded at Olari Church, Finland in November 1996 and May 1997 TELDEC APEX 0927 40605 2 [69.05] [CF]

The choir under Kuivanen hold their own, producing a lovely blend of sound, secure intonation on the whole and sensitive, contrasting reflection of the text throughout the disc. The recording venue has a natural warmth and resonance.

Benjamin BRITTEN (197-76) Cello Suites – No. 1 in G, Op. 72; No. 2 in D, Op. 80; No. 3, Op. 87. Truls Mørk (cello). Virgin Classics VC5 45399-2 [DDD] [73'07] Recorded in Ris Church, Oslo, Norway on October 11th-16th, 1998 and June 6th, 2000. [CC]

There is no doubting the power of this music. Mørk successfully couples a young man's enthusiasm and a beautiful tone with a worldly understanding beyond his years to produce a disc which will leave few unmoved.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Piano Concerto (1938, rev. 1945) Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) Enigma Variations (1898/99) Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra – Stanislav Skrowaczewski.recorded 10 & 14 /10/94 in Funkhaus Hallberg, Saarbrucken. ARTE NOVA 74321 27768-2 [68.26] [JP]

There are respectable though short notes, and the presentation is good. In retrospect, it is as if the performers are performing what they are superb at – Bruckner – Nimrod is slow and romantic. … full review recorded 10 & 14 /10/94 in Funkhaus Hallberg, Saarbrucken. ..see Full Review

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor Op.26 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D Op.77 Tasmin Little (violin)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Vernon Handley (conductor)Recorded in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, June/July 1989 and September 1991 respectively EMI CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 74941 2 0 [64.32]

Tasmin Little’s playing is magical and alluring, full of personality, warmth and humanity. Her tone is sweet, with considerable vibrato, the start of the Adagio of the Bruch compellingly still and tonally rich. Her phrasing connects musically.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) The Complete Symphonies conductor: George Tintner Recording: National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland/National Concert Hall, Dublin: 1996 New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Town Hall, Lower Hutt, New Zealand: 1995 Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow: 1996-1998 NAXOS WHITE BOX 8.501101[12hrs:33mins] [JL]

A complete set of a great body of symphonic literature realised by a superb Bruckner conductor in shining new performances. A major recording venture. Unbeatable value.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 in E major Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Rec 27-29 September 1991, Kongresshalle, Saarbrücken ARTE NOVA 74321 27771-2 [68.45] [TB]

Skrowaczewski proves his calibre as a Bruckner conductor, and once again the Saarbrücken orchestra match his demands with first class playing in a complete cycle of Bruckner symphonies that has been one of the highlights of the year.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 in E major Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra/Eliahu Inbal Rec September 1985, Alte Oper, Frankfurt APEX 09274 08172 (63.44) [TB]

While not a first recommendation, this disc makes an interesting addition to the catalogue, for here is a performance of a great symphony by a conductor who knows and loves the music....see Full Review

[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Y] [Part 6 Misc]   
 


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