> Classical CD Review Archive - Classical - May 2002 part 2 A-B: Classical MusicWeb (UK)

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RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) La Filleule des fées - ballet (1849) Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Mogrelia Rec. ABC Studios, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, February 1996 MARCO POLO 8.223734-35 [CD1: 67.52; CD2: 58.41] [RW]

Uplifting and quite delightful, containing charming melodies with much bright orchestral colour. Adam is not short of melodic ideas and these melt like chocolate into a choreographic flow which makes most enjoyable listening. … see Full Review

Thomas Augustine ARNE
Eight Overtures, Harpsichord Concerto No 5, Organ Concertos Nos 4-6 and other selections DECCA - BRITISH MUSIC COLLECTION 470 372-2 [CD1 72’08"+CD2 76’03"] Budget price [PW]

The eight overtures played with lightness and grace and excitement. A set enjoyable to listen to. … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Malcolm ARNOLD (b. 1921) The Nine Symphonies (1949-1986) 10 minute conversation between Malcolm Arnold and Andrew Penny National SO of Ireland/Andrew Penny rec April 1995-Feb 2000, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland (in presence of composer) NAXOS 8.505178[5.05.00] Superbudget [RB]

Penny and the Irish orchestra in lucid and imaginative performances charting the brilliance and the darkness of Arnold's dark pilgrimage. This set is well worth its modest cost. … see Full Review

Charles AVISON (1709-1770) Concerti from Opus 9 (Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, & 9) The Georgian Concert, leader Simon Jones Recorded York, 2001 THE DIVINE ART RECORD COMPANY 2-4108 (46:29) [AB]

Melodic and interesting tinged with melancholy. Played with style, using period instrumentation and recorded in a sympathetic acoustic … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion - Eric Greene, tenor, Evangelist - Gordon Clinton, bass baritone, Jesus - Pauline Brockless, soprano - Nancy Evans, mezzo-soprano - Wilfred Brown, tenor - John Carol Case, bass-baritone - Eric Gritton, piano continuo - William Cole, organ continuo - Leith Hill Musical Festival Chorus and Orchestra - David Martin and Vera Kantrovitch, leaders Ralph Vaughan Williams, conductor - Recorded Dorking Halls 5 March 1958 PEARL GEMS 0079 [2 CDs 151’14] [JW]

A remarkable document and I strongly urge you to hear it. … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/Ferrucio BUSONI (1866-1924) Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, BWV564. Mikhail GLINKA (1804-57) The Lark (arr. Balakirev). Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-81) Pictures at an Exhibition. Evgeny Kissin (piano). Recorded at SWR-Studio, Freiburg, Germany on August 5th-6th, 2001. RCA Red Seal 09026-63884-2 [57’25] [CC]

If it is Pictures you are after, save a few pennies and go to the incomparably greater Sviatoslav Richter on mid-price Philips...see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Clavier Übung III Lutheran Mass for Organ Kei Koïto, organ Chorales sung by: Agnès Mellon, Andreas Scholl, Gerd Türk and Ulrich Messthaler Direction: Dominique Velland Rec: May 1994, St. Nicholas of Bovenker, Kampen, Netherlands. HARMONIC H/CD 9352-53 [113.17] [KM]

A very satisfying recording of this work, and indeed one of the best available. Kei Koïto is a brilliant performer who knows how to let the music take center stage, rather than the organ, and the addition of the sung chorales is an added plus. … see Full Review

J S BACH Partita no. 3 in F, BWV1006 Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004. Sonata no. 3 in C BWV 1005. Hilary Hahn (violin) SONY CLASSICS SK62793 [78.44] [DW]

For lovers of Bach and violin playing this is an unqualified must. It is really special. … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Concerto Album Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041 Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV 1042 Double Concerto in D minor, BWV 1043 (with Scott St. John) Sonata No. 1 in G minor for Violin Solo, BWV 1001 Lara St. John, violin
New York Bach Ensemble Rec: September 2000, New York Academy of Arts and Letters; February 2001 Skywalker Sound Scoring Stage, Marin County, California. ANCALGON AR 131 [58.47] [KM]

Lara St. John - an excellent violinist; there is no doubt about it. She plays these majestic pieces effortlessly. … see Full Review

J S BACH (1685-1750) Favourite Piano Transcriptions Transcriptions by Wilhelm Kempff Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Ballet music from Orfeo ed Euridice Georg Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759) Minuet in G minor HWV 434 No 1 J S BACH (1685-1750) English Suite No 3 BWV 808 French Suite No 5 BWV 816 Wilhelm Kempff, piano Recorded 1976 ELOQUENCE DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 457 624-2 [79.20] [JW]

Filled to the brim, this Kempff CD gives many indications why he has valuably cogent things to say about Bach, transcriptions or otherwise. … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue BWV 1080 Disc 1 Rehearsal Introduction Contrapunctus 1-9 Disc 2 Contrapunctus 10-18 Closing announcement CBC Toronto Chamber Orchestra Hermann Scherchen Rec: December 1965, CBC Studios, Toronto. TAHRA 2.108-2.109 [2 CDs 122.26] [KM]

Scherchen offers a window onto another equally valid approach and a very moving recording…see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B Minor BWV 232 Barbara Bonney Angelika Kirchschlager John Mark Ainsley Alastair Miles Tokyo Opera Singers Saito Kinen Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa Rec: August - September 2000, Naganoken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan, Japan. PHILIPS 468 363-2 [2CD 102.32] [KM]

For those who don’t like historically informed performances of Bach’s great vocal works, this is a commanding choice. … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. John Passion John Mark Ainsley, Evangelist Stephen Richardson, Christus Catherine Bott, soprano Michael Chance, alto Paul Agnew, tenor Stephen Varcoe, Bass/Pilatus King’s College Choir, Cambridge Brandenburg Consort, Roy Goodman Direction: Stephen Cleobury Recorded: King's College Chapel Cambridge BRILLIANT CLASSICS 99780 [115 min.] [KM]

A very good recording, perhaps lacking profound emotion, it won’t disappoint. More care though should have been taken over balance…see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion King's College Choir Jesus College Choir Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor (evangelist) Michael George, bass (Jesus) Emma Kirkby, soprano Michael Chance, alto Martyn Hill, tenor David Thomas, bass Brandenburg Consort, Roy Goodman Direction: Stephen Cleobury Rec: 1994, King's College Chapel. BRILLIANT CLASSICS 99781 [161.02] [KM]

Sound problems make this unacceptable. The unbalanced sound of orchestra and choir is far too distracting for this to be enjoyable…see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. John Passion BWV 245
Ingrid Schmithusen, soprano Yoshikazu Mera, counter-tenor Gerd Türk, tenor (Evangelist) Chiyuki Urano, bass (Jesus) Peter Kooij, bass (Petrus, Pilatus) St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 Nancy Argenta, soprano Robin Blaze, countertenor Gerd Türk, tenor (Evangelist) Makoto Sakurada, tenor Peter Kooij, bass (Jesus) Chiyuki Urano, bass Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki Rec: April 1998 (St. John), March 1999 (St. Matthew), Kobe Shoin Women’s University, Japan BIS CD-1342/1344 [274.11] [KM]

This five-for-three re-release will delight anyone who has not yet picked up these two magnificent passion recordings. The St. John is arguable the best recording available, and the St. Matthew is pretty close. … see Full Review

ITALIAN BACH IN VIENNA Il Giardino Armonico plays Bach in Vienna Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for two keyboards in C major, BWV 1061 * Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) Symphony in G major, Wq 182-1 Antonio VIVALDI (1675-1741) Violin Concerto in D minor "per Pisendel", RV 242 *** Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for three keyboards in D minor, BWV 1063 *, ** Katia and Maria Labeque, fortepianos * Ottavio Dantone, harpsichord ** Enrico Onofri, violin *** Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini Recorded Musikverein, Vienna, 24 April 2000. TDK DV-BACON [73 min.] [KM]

In spite of its drawbacks an enjoyable programme and a fine evening of music…see Full Review

American Music For Strings Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Serenade for String Orchestra, op.1 Irving FINE (1914-1962) Serious Song – A Lament for String Orchestra Elliott CARTER (b.1908) Elegy David DIAMOND (b.1915) Rounds for String Orchestra Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra/Paul Shure Recorded 1980 – venue not given WARNER APEX 7559 79670-2 [36:58] [GPJ]

Playing with great assurance, excellent tone and ensemble. Recording isn’t particularly kind, sounding a little boxy and very ‘studio’. The slower pieces are not helped by this. … see Full Review

Belá BARTÓK (1881 - 1945) Sonata for Solo Violin Zoltán KODÁLY (1882 - 1967) Duo Op. 7 Gerard Poulet (violin); Christoph Henkel (cello) Recorded at Chateau de Ripaille, Thonon des Bains, Haute-Savoie, France on May 14th-17th, 1987 HARMONIC RECORDS HCD8717 [47’13] [CC]

To reiterate: do not be put off by the low playing time: there are rich rewards here. … see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphony No. 4 Overture to a Picaresque Comedy, Nympholept Royal Scottish National Orchestra Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones Rec 25-25 August 2000, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow NAXOS 8.555343 [64.38] [TB]

This new issue must be taken very seriously. The experience of listening justifies all this enthusiasm. A symphony 'leaner and fitter' than Thomson's. … see Full Review

David BEDFORD (b. 1937) Star Clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon (1971) * [24.57] The Song of the White Horse (1978) ** [23.55] * Chorus and Brass of London Philharmonic Orchestra/John Alldis ** Mike Ratledge and composer (keyboards), Diana Coulson (solo voice), Nash Ensemble, Queen's College Choir/Steuart Bedford rec dates and locations - no information given CLASSICPRINT CPVP011CD [48.52] [RB]

Bedford's 1970s avant-garde take on the English landscape ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No 1 in C major, Op 15 (1795) [33.13] Piano Concerto No 4 in G major, Op 58 (1808) [33.47] Radu Lupu (piano) & Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Zubin Mehta DDD: recorded 1980 (No 1)ADD: recorded 1978 (No 4) ELOQUENCE DECCA 466 707-2 [67.00] [PL]

You’ll find wider-ranging performances in the catalogue. These are performances one can live with – warts and all. … see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, Op 19 (1792) [27.35] The Creatures of Prometheus: Ballet Music, Op 43 (1801) [47.24] Radu Lupu (piano: Concerto only) Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Zubin Mehta ADD: recorded 1979 (Concerto) & 1969 (Prometheus) DECCA ELOQUENCE 466 681-2 [74.59] [PL]

What makes this issue especially attractive for me its substantial selection of items from the Prometheus ballet, which is consistently appealing. Lupu plays with subtlety and delicacy. … see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 37 (1803) [36.07]32 Variations on an Original Theme, WoO 80 (1806) [11.13] Radu Lupu (piano) and (Concerto only) London Symphony Orchestra, cond. Lawrence Foster ADD: recorded 1971 ELOQUENCE DECCA 466 690-2 [47.20] [PL]

Lupu plays with fire and colour Short playing time. Slightly anonymous orchestral contribution limits the effectiveness of these performances. … see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat major, Op 19 (1792) [38.32] Rondo in C major, Op 51 No 1 (1795?) [5.42]Rondo in G major, Op 51 No 1 (1795?) [9.17] Sonata No 19 in G minor, Op 49 No 1 (1795?) [7.54]Sonata No 20 in G major, Op 49 No 2 (1795?) [8.36] Radu Lupu (piano) & (Concerto only) Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Zubin Mehta ADD: recorded 1977 ELOQUENCE DECCA 466 689-2 [70.01] [PL]

Undoubtedly an ‘Emperor’ to be reckoned with. Lupu’s on good form, and Mehta contributes a stylish accompaniment. So – a good buy? Not really! … see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto in D, op. 61 (1), Romance no. 1 in G, op. 40, Romance no. 2 in F, op. 50 (2) Yehudi Menuhin (violin), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Constantin Silvestri (1), Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir John Pritchard (2) Recorded November 1960, Musikvereinsaal, Vienna (1), November and December 1961, No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London (2) EMI CLASSICS CDE 5 74973 2 [61’11"] [CH]

Undoubtedly the work of a great violinist, but not quite a great performance. … see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio in B flat major Op.97 ‘Archduke’
Variations on an original theme Op.44 ‘Kakadu’ Variations Op.121a
Franz SCHUBERT 1797-1828)Piano Trio in E flat major Op.100 Sonatensatz in B flat major The Castle Trio:-
Lambert Orkis fortepiano Marilyn McDonald violin Kenneth Slowik cello Recorded July 1989, UK (Beethoven Op. 44); July 1990 UK (Beethoven Trio & Op.121a); March 1991, USA (Schubert Trio & Sonatensatz) VIRGIN VERITAS 7243 5 62007 2 2 [CD1 74:13; CD2 57:56] Midprice [JL]

Fine period performances of Schubert/Beethoven masterpieces and some lesser known works. Worth hearing for the sound of Lambert Orkis’s playing of the fortepiano alone. Superbly recorded. … see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1828) Piano Trios, Volume 2. Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3, 14 Variations in E flat, Op. 44, Variations in G, Op. 121a, ‘Kakadu’. Trio Parnassus (Wolfgang Schröder, violin; Michael Gross, cello; Chia Chou, piano). Recorded at Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen on January 15th-16th, 2001. Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG303 1052-2 [DDD] [60’03] [CC]

The Trio Parnassus’ cycle of Beethoven Piano Trios on Dabringhaus und Grimm is turning into something very special indeed; a disc that will bring much pleasure…see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio in D major Op 70 "Ghost" Piano Trio in B flat major Op 97 "Archduke" Wilhelm Kempff, piano Henryk Szeryng, violin Pierre Fournier, cello Recorded 1970 Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 463 238-2 [71.04] [JW]

A bright and bustling Ghost Trio coupled with a mannered and ponderous Archduke…see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata No 2 in A major Op 2 No 2 Violin Sonata No 5 in F major Op 24 "Spring" Violin Sonata No 9 in A major Op 47 "Kreutzer" Henryk Szeryng, violin Ingrid Haebler, piano Recorded 1980 PHILIPS ELOQUENCE 469 152-2 [75’47]

Enjoyable performances, with good rapport, an elite violinist in some of his latter-day recordings…see Full Review

MusikTriennale Köln 2000
BERG: Lulu Suite (excerpts) DEBUSSY: Le jet d’eau; Trois ballades de François Villon STRAVINSKY: The Firebird (complete) Christine Schafer (soprano) Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez Filmed in April 2000, Philharmonie, Köln Producer: Volker Dieckmann Director: Janos Darvas TDK DV-MTKBO [101 minutes] [CA]

Oddball documentation but a marvellous account of The Firebird - a Boulez favourite. … see Full Review

Hector BERLIOZ (1803 - 1869) Symphonie Fantastique Op. 14 (1830)Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732 - 1809) Symphony No. 94, Hob.1: The Surprise (1791) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Flute Concerto No.2, K314 (1778) Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Mariss Jansons.recorded in the St. Irene Church, Istanbul, 1st May 2001. EURO ARTS TDK10 5122 9 DV-EUC01 DVD [104 minutes (main programme) + 30 minutes extra items] [JP]

The visual impact of the whole production is to a very high standard, as is the sound quality. All congratulations to Euro Arts. … see Full Review

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Hiver-Printemps (1904-5) [14.29] Poèmes D’Automne (1906) [22.23] In the Night (1922) [5.17] 2 Psaumes (1912-14) [12.59] Psaume 22 (1913-14) [7.54] Mireille Delunsch (soprano) Brigitte Balleys (mezzo-soprano) Vincent Le Texier (baritone) Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg/David Shallon Recorded at Luxembourg Conservatoire, September, 1999 DDD TIMPANI 1C1052 [63.43] [TH]

An excellent disc, then, which not only fleshes out our knowledge of music at the turn of the century, but widens our appreciation of a gifted composer. … see Full Review

William BOYCE (1711-79) Ode For St Cecilia’s Day Soloists, New College Oxford Choir; Hanover Band, cond. Graham Lea-Cox ASV GAUDEAMUS CD GAU 200 [58.00?] [PS]

A highly recommendable release … an agreeable marriage of musicianship and scholarship. Even today Boyce’s achievements are generally too little known … see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Serenades Opp 11 and 16 London Symphony Orchestra/Istvan Kertesz ELOQUENCE DECCA 466 672-2 [76.18] [JW]

There aren’t that many unambiguously recommendable versions of the Serenades; thirty years on still an essential purchase. … see Full Review

- BRUCKNER: Symphony No.3 in D minor - STRAVINSKY: Symphony in three movements - Filmed in 1993, Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Georg Solti - Director: Hugo Käch ARTHAUS MUSIK 100 320 [89 minutes] [CA]

Solti smiling at players when things go well … and those eyes, the eyes of someone who knew what he wanted and was determined to get it. … 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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