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SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Piano Quintet, String trio, Fuga for solo violin, Klingende Buchstaben for solo cello, Stille Musik for violin and cello.  1999 AFCM Ensemble. Irina Schnittke piano, Mark Lubotsky violin, Irina Morozova viola, Julian Smiles cello, Theodore Kuchar viola, Alexander Ivashkin cello, Dimity Hall violin.  Naxos 8.554728 [69:11] [CT]

Overall I have nothing but praise for this recording. As well as the commitment of the playing the sound is vivid (if a little forward), and at budget price I can strongly recommend it to those willing to take a chance and explore new repertoire as well as those who are more familiar with Schnittke.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Water in Songs by Shubert Meeres Stille, D216. Der Taucher, D77. Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D774. Schwanengesang, D957 - No. 12, Am Meer. Der Schiffer, D536. Auf der Donau, D553. Auf dem See, D543. Die Bürgschaft, D246. Peter Kooij (baritone); Leo van Doeselaar (fortepiano). BIS CD-1089 [62'19] [DDD] [CC]

This is a thought-provoking recital, in all the right ways. Kooij's clean voice and superb negotiation of intervals coupled with a real feeling for Schubert's harmonic progressions means that the interpretations have a rightness about them that will guarantee return visits.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Violin Sonatas - No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105 No. 2 in D minor, Op. 121 No. 3 in A minor, Op. posth. Isabelle Faust (violin); Silke Avenhaus (piano). CPO 999 597-2 [DDD] [66'38] [CC]

Faust and Avenhaus have produced a disc which communicates the essence of chamber music

SCHUMANN (1810-56)Carnaval, Op. 9. Toccata, Op. 7. Arabesque, Op. 18. Bunte Blätter, Op. 99. Kreisleriana, Op. 16. Novelettes, Op. 21 - No. 1; No. 8. Papillons, Op. 2. Youri Egorov (piano).
EMI Double Forte CZS5 74191-2 [two discs] [ADD] [147'23] Recorded 1978-85.[CC]

This set provides a useful selection of major Schumann piano works at a similarly useful price. Egorov is capable of illumination and telling Romantic introspection at his very best, but capable of crass over-emphasis at his worst.

TATYANA SERGEYEVA 1. Concerto for violin, piano, harpsichord and organ 2. Vocal Cycle on verses by Tatiana Cherednichenko 3. Daphne - trio for saxophone, cello and organ 4. Concerto No.2 for piano and orchestra  Tatiana Sergeyva (piano, organ, harpsichord) all tracks 1. Vladislav Igolinsky (violin), rec Moscow Conservatoire, 1991 2. Natalia Gorelik-Leonina (mezzo), rec Moscow, 1997 3. Alexey Volkov (sax), Vladimir Tonkha (cello), rec Moscow Conservatoire, 1995 4. Pavel Kovalenko (trumpet), Urals Academic PO/Dmitry Liss, rec Moscow Conservatoire, 1996 BOHEME CDBMR 001123 [62.23] [RB]

This disc is for tougher-souled explorers.

John SHEPPARD  Missa Cantate & Verbum caro facto est .   Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreech with Salisbury Cathedral Boy Choristers/Richard Seal DGG Archiv 457 658-2 [81 mins!] [PW]

Devoted care in preparation, backed by searching scholarship, is evident in the three introductory essays, including descriptions of the Sarum Rite, full background information about Sheppard & his Missa Cantate and an explanation of the unusual pronunciation - English Latin as Sheppard would have used.

JEAN SIBELIUS Violin Concerto PIOTR TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto Mélodie (arr Glazunov) Tossy Spivakovsky (violin) LSO Tauno Hannikainen (Sibelius) Walter Goehr (Tchaikovsky) EVEREST EVC 9035 [69.39] [RB]

A valuable and flavour-some pair of performances eschewing anyone's orthodoxy. Preferred for the Sibelius which no Sibelian should be without

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) L' Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) Nederlands Dans Theater Conductor: David Porcelijn ARTHAUS DVD VIDEO 100 132 Subtitles (narration) in  English and German [51 mins] [ IL]

One of the more impressive Arthaus DVD releases. Recommended.

RONALD STEVENSON Sing a song of seasons Song Cycles A Child’s Garden of Verses (R L Stevenson): Nine Haiku (Keith Bosley): Border Boyhood (MacDiarmid) The Artsong Collective Recorded 1996 MUSAEUS MZCD100 [75' 15"] [CF]

Ronald Stevenson at 73 is one of Britain's eminent composers and an expert craftsman, to which the three song cycles on this imaginative disc testify. His ability to colour and illustrate his carefully selected texts, particularly in the piano accompaniments, is remarkable...fascinating and highly commended disc.

STANFORD Suite in D, op.32 for violin and orchestra;Violin Concerto no.1 in D, op.74 Anthony Marwood (violin) BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins Hyperion CDA67208  [66:40] [CH]

Snap up this beautifully engineered disc without delay - I can't recommend it too highly

STRAUSS (1864-1949) Four Last Songs Excerpts from: Arabella, Ariadne auf Naxos and Capriccio Lisa Della Casa, Vienna Philharmonic   Karl Böhm DECCA Legends 467 118-2 [66:36] {DD] [IL]

Sonics appraisal by David Dyer

SULLIVAN  Haddon Hall. (Written by Sydney Grundy).   The Prince Consort, Edinburgh.   The Divine Art 21201 (2CDs: 55' 13'' and 56' 06) [PC]

The Prince Consort are to be congratulated on giving such a spirited reading of this neglected work. Recommended to Sullivan fans and those who enjoy fine melodies from a master craftsman alike.

Germaine TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983) Images, Quatuor, Forlane, Chansons Populaires Françaises, Sonata for Harp, Deux Valses, Galliarde  Various performers HELICON HE 1008 [51:57] [IL]

This is a very welcome album of music by the only woman composer of the French group of 20th century composers known as Les Six

TANEYEV  Concert Suite; Entr'acte; Oresteya Overture Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy (Pekka Kuusisto, violin) Ondine ODE 959-2 [65 mins] [PW]

The recording is good and Ashkenazy does all that could be expected for what this reviewer thinks is a lost cause.

Vanhal: Symphony in B flat major, Symphony in D minor, Symphony in G major City of London Sinfonia Andrew Watkinson Naxos 8.554138 (49.53 minutes) [TB]

Three of these pieces are collected here in lively performances and good sound. Andrew Watkinson directs the City of London Sinfonia, who sound well, with tight ensemble in faster movements and pleasing tone in the slower music.

Jan Baptist VERRIJT  Flammae divinae   The Consort of Music/Anthony Rooley NM Classics 92076 [62.40] [PGW]

Few musicians have explored hidden masterworks of their chosen periods so indefatigably as Anthony Rooley, who has with the fine singers of his much-loved The Consort of Music brought back alive so much wonderful music. Verrijt's 18 two- and three-part motets are gems, music of the highest order, combining the older Franco-Flemish polyphony with the Italian stile concertato. Like Monteverdi, Verrijt heightens the effect of this church music with operatic techniques, such as the poignant cries of despair in Fili, Ego Salomon.

VIVALDI Concerti da Camera Vol. 1 L'Astrée Opus 111 OPS 30-264 [75.21] [SF]

As part of Opus 111's 'Tesori del Piemonte' series come L'Astrée, a wonderfully talented group of nine Italian instrumentalists who have embarked on a series of the complete chamber concertos of Vivaldi, many of which are to be found in the National University Library of Turin., This is over seventy-five minutes of pure joy!

Wagner's Heroes Walkure (excerpts); Siegfried (excerpts); Gotterdammerung (excerpts). John Treleaven (tenor); Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bratsilava/Ivan Anguelov. Arte Nova Voices 74321 72114-2 [DDD] [69'19] [CC] [TD]

Treleaven shows an affinity for Wagner (which appears from the evidence on this disc still a little way from maturity), so it is a shame that the frequently lacklustre accompaniments counteract this.

J. J. WALTHER  Sonatas nos. 6, 7 8 & 9 J. P. WESTHOFF  Suites nos. 1, 4 & 6   Pavlo Beznosiuk (baroque violin) with continuo. Etcetera KTC 1224 [69 mins] [PW]

The music is all well played, though just a little short of inspired, I felt. It is somewhat cautious and rarely takes wing. Recording and documentation are entirely satisfactory.

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Lieder and Chamber Music CD1 Seven Songs Op. 1 (1903-4) Selected Songs (1900-1936) Five Duets for soprano and baritone (1909) Five Songs for soprano and string quartet (1934) CD2 Viola Sonata (1940) Two Pieces for cello and piano (1940) String Quartet No. 4 (1924)
Evelyn Chih-Yih Chan (sop) Michael Kutner (par) Garth Knox (viola) Maróth Bálint (cello) Bárkányi Éva (piano) Stephane Ginsburg (piano) Akadémia Kvartett rec Budapest, 4-7 Oct 1999 Special Limited Private Edition of 1000 2CD box-sets 50th Anniversary Commemorative Recording THE KARL WEIGL FOUNDATION KWF991001-2 [56.25+58.42] [RB]

An illuminating set distinguished, for me, by the Love Song, the Five Songs for Soprano and String Quartet and the String Quartet No. 4.

ANTHOLOGIE DE MUSIQUE LUXEMBOURGEOISE Vols 2 & 5 Vol. 2  Marcel Wengler  Symphonie No. 2 Jeannot Heinen Konzertstück Op. 37 Polarisation Op. 56 Johny Fritz Mouvement pour cordes et percussions
Vol. 5  Georges Lentz 'Caeli ennarant….' 1 Marcel Wengler Die weisse Wildnis, Konstellationen
Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg Conducted by Marcel Wengler Editions LGNM (un-numbered) [53.35] & [73.51] [SF]

It would be all too easy to jokingly refer to these discs as perhaps two of the most obscure classical CDs available anywhere in the world......But this is not April 1 - I listened to these fascinating discs over the Christmas holidays and I write on New Year's Day. My time was well spent.

Kurt WEILL (1900-50) Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra, Op. 12a. Kleine  Dreigroschenmusik. Berlin im Licht. aHenri Raudales (violin); Munich Radio Orchestra/Gerd Müller-Lorenz. Orfeo C539001A [50'42] [DDD] [CC]

 Henri Raudales is an able protagonist in Weill's Violin Concerto … The Kleine Dreigroschenmusik of four years later perfectly evokes the twilit world of the Berlin Cabaret. Recommended.

GRAHAM WHETTAM  Sinfonia Intrepida   BBCSO/Sir Charles Mackerras.   Redcliffe Recordings RR016 (44' 11'') [PC] [MB]

Redcliffe's first orchestral recording and a major premiere. In his massive Sinfonia Intrepida, Graham Whettam has taken up the challenge of writing an orchestral piece of genuinely symphonic stature in the late 20th Century [PC].
This is a major release that deserves the widest exposure. I have not been so enthralled by an 'unknown' work since I discovered Artur Lemba's Symphony years ago [MB]

XENAKIS  Aïs; Tracées; Empreintes;Noomena;Roáï   Spyros Sakkas (baritone) Beatrice Daudin (percussion) Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg/Arturo Tamayo Timpani 1C1057 [59 mins]  [PW]

Each piece is an intense, possibly draining, experience so they should not be listened to straight through. Hearing Spyros Sakkas sing music by Xenakis specially composed for him is an eerie, unforgettable experience.

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

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett,  Reviewers: Rob Barnett, Ian Lace, Len Mullenger, and:  Richard Adams, Colin Anderson, Arthur Baker, Terry Barfoot,  Marc Bridle, Arthur Butterworth, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Christopher Fifield, Lewis Foreman, Simon Foster, Colin France, Christopher Howell, John Phillips, Ailís Ní Ríain, Humphrey Smith, Philip Scowcroft, Colin Scott-Sutherland, Andrew Seivewright, Adrian Smith, Christopher Thomas, Richard Whitehouse, 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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