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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

 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasiestücke, Opus 12 - Papillons, Opus 2 - Carnaval, Opus 9 George-Emmanuel Lazaridis (piano) - Recorded 25-25 October 2000, St Philip's Church, London, SW16 SOMM SOMMCD 024 [72.11] [TB]

Very fine, with some particularly well judged nuances of dynamic … see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasiestücke, op. 12 (1837) Papillons, op. 2 (1831) Carnaval, op. 9 (1835) George-Emmanuel Lazaridis, piano - Recorded October 2000, St. Philips Church, Streatham, London, UK. SOMM NEW HORIZONS SOMMCD 024 [72.11] [WH]

Lazaridis - certainly someone to watch out for. Anyone wanting this particular combination of works shouldn’t hesitate. … see Full Review

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) La Tragédie de Salomé (1907) [26.18] Psalm 47 for soprano, chorus and orchestra (1904) [26.06] Janiana - symphony for string orchestra (1941) Suite en Rocaille for harp, violin, viola, flute, cello (1934) Lied et Scherzo (1910) Jacques Prat (violin), Sharon Sweet (sop), Guy Commentale (violin), Jean-Louis Gil (organ), Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeurs de Radio France/Marek Janowski (Salomé; Psalm) Orchestra Jean-Francois Paillard/Jean-Francois Paillard (Janiana) Marie-Claire Jamet Quintet (Suite) Pierre Del Vescovo (horn), Jean Hubeau (Lied et Scherzo) ERATO ULTIMA 8573 85636 2 [CD1 52.39; CD2 41.52] [RB]

Schmitt the luxuriant and the lithe. Not the dernier cri in sound but enjoyable and very high interpretative values. 2-4-1 price. … see Full Review

Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Ekkehard Overture, Op. 12 [12.06]* Fantastic Overture [10.34]* Interlude from Der Schatzgräber, Act 3 [13.00]** Prelude to Die Gezeichneten [9.31]*** Prelude to Das Spielwerk [5.53]*** Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Edgar Seipenbusch - Recorded in the Concert Hall of the Slovak Philharmonic *16 November 1985, **24 July 1987’ ***9 November 1986 - First released as Marco Polo 8.220392 NAXOS 8.555246 [51.05] [JQ]

Seipenbusch and his players are enthusiastic advocates and the programme is played with commitment even if the last degree of refinement is missing. … see Full Review - see also review by Raymond Walker

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Piano Concerto and works for solo piano Roger Woodward, piano Sydney Symphony Orchestra/Edo de Waart Recorded 1991/1999, Eugene Goossens Hall/Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, Australia. ABC CLASSICS 465 671-2 [2CDs: 79.56+79.02]
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Late Piano Works
Roger Woodward, piano
Recorded 1991, Eugene Goossens Hall, Sidney. ABC CLASSICS 465 741-2 [75.02] [RW]

Anyone seriously interested in investigating Scriabin’s piano music couldn’t do better than invest in Roger Woodward’s marvellous two disc set. … see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) complete symphonies WDR Radio Chorus (2, 3), Choral Academy Moscow (13), Sergei Aleksashkin (bass) (13), Alla Simoni (soprano) (14), Vladimir Vaneev (bass) (14), WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne conducted by Rudolf Barshai DDD Stereo Recorded in the Philharmonie, Cologne (recording dates for each symphony above) BRILLIANT CLASSICS 6275-1/11

A sturdy, truthful set, then, which in some ways combines the Russian and Western approaches to this composer. And which has a great no. 5. see Full Review

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS(1865-1957) En Saga, Op.9 (1892/1902) [18.03] The Dryad, Op.45 No.1 (1910) [5.07] Dance-Intermezzo, Op.45 No.2 (1904/07) [2.47] Pohjola’s Daughter, Op.49 (1906) [13.10] Night Ride and Sunrise, Op.55 (1908) [17.20] The Bard, Op.64 (1913/14) [7.32] The Oceanides Op.73 (1914) [10.03] Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä Recorded at the Sibelius Hall, Lahti, Finland during August 2000 and May 2001 BIS CD-1225 [75.54]

Vänskä is keeping up to the incredibly high standards he has set himself. … see Full Review

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Songs: Illalle, op. 17/6, Den judiska flickans sång, from Belshazzar’s Feast, op. 51, 6 Songs, op. 36, Jag är etz träd, op. 57/5, Necken, op. 57/8, 5 Songs, op. 37, Vem styrde hit din väg? Op. 90/6, Norden, op. 90/1, 6 Songs, op. 50, Våren flyktar hastigt, op. 13/4, Under strandens granar, op. 13/1 Katarina Karnéus (mezzo-soprano), Julius Drake (pianoforte) Recorded 26th-28th June 2001, location not given HYPERION CDA67318 [65’01"] [CH]

A disc which surely announces the arrival of a major artist. Sibelius’s songs are highly individual, poetic creations, and this is an ideal introduction to them. … see Full Review

Dmitri SMIRNOV (born 1948) Elegy for Cello Op.97a (1997), Piano Sonata No.4 Op.124 (2000), Violin Sonata No.3 Op.109 (1998), Piano Trio No.1 Op.23 (1977), Cello Sonata Op.25 (1978), Postlude for Violin Op.112 (1998) Patricia Kopatchinskaya (violin); Alexander Ivashkin (cello); Ivan Sokolov (piano) Recorded: Moscow Radio House, August 2001 MEGADISC MDC 7818 [70:57] [HC]

Smirnov’s often impassioned music always aims at direct communication, no matter how technically complex or sophisticated it may be. … see Full Review

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) The Bluebird, Beata Quorum Via, Songs of the Sea, Te Deum Laudamus in B Flat, Magnificat in B Flat, Nunc Dimittis in B Flat, Magnificat in G, Nunc Dimittis in G, Psalm 96 – O Sing unto the Lord a New Song
Psalm 150 – O Praise God in His Holiness, Agnus Dei, The Fairy Lough, A Soft Day
Recorded 1952-2000 DECCA British Music Collection 470 384-2 [52’07]

Freshness, nobility and conviction with a wide tonal range from the choir. … see Full Review

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Irish Songs and Ballads James Griffett (tenor) with Cifford Benson (piano) CAMPION CAMEO 2001 [67.13] [RW]

Very good and an excellent archive of these forgotten works … see Full Review

Johann STRAUSS II (1825 - 1899) Kaiser-Walzer arr. Arnold Schoenberg [12.24] Rosen aus dem Suden op.388 arr.Arnold Schoenberg [9.51] Wein, Weib und Gesang op.333 arr. Alban Berg [13.12] Schatz-Walzer op.418 arr. Anton Webern [13.12] Igor STRAVINSKY (1882 - 1971) Octet for Wind Instruments (1923/1952) [15.22] Pastorale for Violin and Wind Quartet (1934) [2.54] Ragtime for Eleven Instruments (1918) [4.38] Concertino for Twelve Instruments(1952) [6.34] Boston Symphony Chamber Players - Rec. Symphony Hall, Boston, April 1975 (Stravinsky) and April 1979 (Strauss) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 463 667-2 [73.45] [HT]

It is hard to see the hands of Schoenberg and his pupils in these beautifully mellifluous transcriptions of favourite waltzes. … see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra Astrid Varnay (Elektra) New York Philharmonic, Dmitri Mitropoulos (conductor) Carnegie Hall, New York, 25 December 1949 Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Und ab die Wolke (Die Freischütz) Ozean, du Ungeheuer (Oberon) Richard WAGNER (1813-83) Senta’s Ballad (Der Fliegende Holländer) Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Vol lo sapete (Cavalleria Rusticana) Jules MASSENET Il est gon (Herodiade) Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) In quelle trine morbide (Manon Lescaut) Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ecco l’orride campo (Un Ballo in Maschera) Come in quest’ ora bruna (Simon Boccanegra) Astrid Varnay with unstated conductors and orchestras GUILD GHCD 2213/14 [2’29"47] [PQ]

A white-knuckle 90 minutes and a valuable chance to hear Varnay in full flight. … see Full Review [PQ]
Excellent introduction to Varnay's art as well as a tribute to Mitropoulos. There are other Varnay Elektras that more fully preserve the soprano's achievement. … see Full Review [CG]
A lady clearly in command of all her forces and after one and a half hours of strenuous singing the voice is as fresh as when it started. … see Full Review [JN]

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Recital - Nocturne, opus 10, nr. 1; Waltz Scherzo in a minor, Opus 7; Humoresque in G, opus 10 nr 2, Capriccioso is B-flat, opus 19, nr. 5, Chanson triste, opus 40, nr 2; Waltz in A-flat, opus 40, nr.8; Romance in f minor, Opus 5, Romance in F, opus 51, nr 5; Un poco di Chopin, opus 72 nr. 15; L’espiègle, opus 72 nr. 12; Réverie du soir, opus 19 nr 1; Menuetto-scherzoso, opus 51 nr. 1, Valse de salon, opus 51 nr. 1; Méditation, Opus 72, nr. 5. From "The Seasons," Nr. 5, May. White Nights; Number 6, June, Barcarolle; Number 11, November, Troika; Number 1, January, By the fireplace. Sviatoslav Richter, piano - Recorded in Studio 3 of the Bavarian Radio, 1983. Engineered by Wolfgang Karreth DDD - Licensed from Olympia REGIS RRC 1093 [79'58][KS]

Rare indeed to get such a broad sampling of Tchaikovsky’s shorter solo piano works, and to have them played by a great Russian pianist like Richter is a bonus. … see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893) Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) complete opera (1890) (libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky after the novella by Alexander Pushkin) Gegam Grigorian (Herman), Maria Guglegina (Liza), Lumila Filatova (Countess), Sergei Leiferkus (Count Tomsky, Alexander Gergalov (Prince Yeletsky), Vladimir Solodovnikov (Chekalinsky, Olga Borodina (Pauline) Kirov Opera Chorus, Kirov Orchestra, conducted by Valerie Gergiev. (Stage production by Yuri Termikanov). recorded in the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, 1992. Video directed by Brian Large. PHILIPS 070 434-9 [179 minutes] [JP]

Now the most desirable DVD version in the catalogue of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece … see Full Review

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Francesca da Rimini (1876) [23.13] Hamlet (1888) [19.16] Alexander SCRIABIN (1871-1915) Poème d'Extase (1908) [19.14] Stadium Symphony Orchestra of New York/Leopold Stokowski (Tchaikovsky) Stadium Houston Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski (Scriabin) rec: c. 1959, Tchaikovsky: 1959 Manhattan Center, New York; Houston Civic Center, Texas. AAD OMEGA EVEREST EVC 9037 [62.02]

Reference versions, highly coloured in Stokowski's golden hands, of the Tchaikovsky works in refulgent sound quality. ... see Full Review

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet, Piano Concerto No. 1, Symphony No. 5 - John Ogdon (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Monteux - Rec: concert performance, 31 May 1963, Grosser Konzertsaal, Vienna, ADD VANGUARD CLASSICS OVC 8031/2 [CD1: 53.20; CD2: 44.05] [RB]

Tchaikovsky made anew, green in youth and with the capacity to astonish and delight. … see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66 (Special concert edition) BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky Recording: Royal Festival Hall, London, 10 October 1979 BBC Legends BBCL 4091-2 [141.17] [JQ]

A stylish, ebullient and exhilarating performance … see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY Written and narrated by: Jeremy Siepmann
Tchaikovsky: Malcolm Sinclair Also featuring: Karen Archer, Teresa Gallagher, Stephen Thorne and David TimsonConductor: AssortedEnsembles: Assorted NAXOS 8.558036-39-04 [4:09:54] [KR]

This CD would serve well as a classroom aid for any teacher of music history or indeed for any classical music beginner not allergic to Shakespearean accents. … See Full Review

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Concerto for Orchestra (1964) [35.56] Concerto for violin, viola, cello and orchestra (1981) [37.28] Little Music for String Orchestra (1946) [10.53] Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli (1953) [20.59] Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1940) [23.44] Fanfare for Brass [1.54] Dance Clarion Air [4.51] Byzantium (1991) [26.54] LSO/Colin Davis (Triple; Concerto) Gyorgy Pauk (violin); Nobuko Imai (viola); Ralph Kirshbaum (cello) (Triple) Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Marriner (Little Music; Corelli; Concerto) Philip Jones Brass Ensemble (Fanfare)
Schola Cantorum of Oxford/Nicholas Cleobury (Dance) Faye Robinson (sop)/Chicago SO/Georg Solti rec 1964-91 ADD/DDD DECCA The British Music Collection 470 196-2 [2CDs: 154.52] [RB]

Something special - treasurable and pleasurable all in excellent sound. ... see Full Review

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (born 1919) Piano Concerto (1946)a - Symphony No.1 (1955)b Oleg Malov (piano)a; Boris Pinkhasovich, Pavel Semagin (trebles)b; Ural Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitri Liss - Recorded: Yekaterinenburg Philharmonia, April 2000 MEGADISC MDC 7856 [38:38] [HC]

Music by the Mystery Woman of Russian music superbly played by musicians who really believe in the music and give it dedicated, committed readings. … see Full Review

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (born 1919) Symphony No.2 "True and Eternal Bliss" (1979)a, Symphony No.3 "Jesus Messiah, Save Us" (1983)b, Symphony No.4 "Prayer" (1985/7)c, Symphony No.5 "Amen" (1989/90)d Oleg Malov (piano)abc; Pavel Nemytov (voice)ab; Elena Popova (contralto)c; Ural Philharmonic Orchestraab; Dmitri Lissab; St Petersburg Soloistscd - Recorded: Yekaterinenburg Philharmonia, August and September 1999ab; and St Petersburg Radio House, October and November 1994cd MEGADISC MDC 7854 [50:07][HC]

Ustvolskaya’s music is like nothing else; and there is no denying the almost visceral intensity of her "rituals of despair". … see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Symphony No 6 in E minor [33.27] Symphony No 9 in E minor [32.52] Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’* [4.12] Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra - Conducted by Vernon Handley - Recorded in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool 5 & 6 March 1993 And *30 November & 1 December 1990 - CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 75312 2 1 [70.51] [RB]

Finely played, faithfully and understandingly conducted and recorded in excellent, well-balanced sound. … see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’, Job - A Masque for Dancing London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley Recorded in the Fairfield Halls, Croydon on 3 and 4 December 1973 (Tallis) and at St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn on 24 and 25 June 1985 and 14 and 15 December 1983 EMI CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 75314 2 9 [76’52"] [CF]

The playing is fine, the interpretation compelling. … see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Sea Symphony Joan Rodgers (sop.), William Shimmell (bar.) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Vernon Handley Recorded in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool 27-29 July, 1988 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 75308 2 8 [69.45] [JQ]

Handley is the hero of the enterprise, leading an interpretation which is very satisfying. … see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Serenade to Music (choral version) Partita for double string orchestra Sinfonia Antartica (No.7) Alison Hargan (soprano)
Ian Tracey (organ) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/Vernon Handley Recorded in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool on 30 November and 1 December 1990 EMI CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 75313 2 0 [76’19"] [CF]

A compellingly driven account which will chill you to the bones in this reissue … see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) An Introduction to Rigoletto Written by Thomson Smillie - Narrated by David Timson NAXOS 8.5580-48 [79.05][JN]

I’ve got my doubts about the efficiency of this project … see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem (1874) Angela Gheorghiu (sop), Daniela Barcellona (mezzo), Roberto Alagna (tenor), Julian Konstantinov (bass) Swedish Radio Chorus Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado Recorded at live performances in the Philharmonie, Berlin on 25th & 27th January 2001 Full Price DVD EMI CLASSICS 7243 4 92693 9 2 Region coded for all territories [88’47"] CD EMI CLASSICS 7213 5 57168 2 8 [83’48"] [MB]

Ideally, lovers of this work must own all three available DVDs because they will give between them an ideal performance of this notoriously difficult work. If you have to choose one then it should be Abbado (Edinburgh). ....see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto Machado/ Nucci/ Mula/ Luperi/ M’punga Orchestra, Choir and Corps de Ballet of Arena di Verona/ Marcello Viotti Recorded Arena di Verona, July 2001 TDK DVOPRIG [134:00]

A large scale production from last year’s Verona Festival that attempts to fill the vast space of the open air, 2000 year old Arena. Some subtlety and pathos is lost as the strong cast project larger-than-life performances but Leo Nucci and Inva Mula make a superb father/daughter stage partnership that ensures some exciting moments. ...see Full Review

Richard WAGNER Der Ring Des Nibelungen Das Rheingold [139’ 32] Die Walküre [210’ 17"] Siegfried [229’ 18"] Götterdämmerung [238’ 17"] Sung in German
Siegfried - Alan Woodrow (tenor) Brünnhilde - Elena Comotti/Elizabeth-Maria Wachutka/Eva Silberbauer (soprano) Wotan - Albert Dohmen/Duccio dal Monte/Juha Uusitalo (bass-baritone) Singers of the Accademia di Montegral Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo, Naples/Orchestra of the Tyrol Festival Gustav Kuhn (conductor) Recorded live at the Tyrol Festival or Teatro di San Carlo, Naples between 1998 and 2001 ARTE NOVA 74321 87075 2 13CD [13 hours 37’ 24" ] [CF]

If you can cope with cast changes and are prepared to accept some variable performances then it’s worth adding this 25th version to the others; be choosy about which bits you listen to. … See Full Review

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) The Quest - Siesta - The Wise Virgins - Alison Crum (viola da gamba)* English Northern Philharmonia/David Lloyd-Jones - Recorded 11-12 July 2001, The Great Hall, University of Leeds NAXOS 8.555868 (62.59) [TB]

An interesting, though not outstanding, compilation. … see Full Review

William WALTON (1902-1983) Façade Suites 1 and 2 Viola Concerto Variations on a Theme of Hindemith Paul Neubauer, viola Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Andrew Litton Recorded The Guildhall, Southampton March 1996 DECCA British Music Collection 470 200-2 [71’30]

Unlike all the other items I have seen in the British Music Collection this is an all-new release. It was worth the wait. ...see Full Review

Peter WARLOCK (1890-1930) Capriol Suite [10.13] Serenade for Strings [7.44] Lullaby My Jesus [3.13] Youth (Robert Wever) As ever I saw (anon) There is a lady (Ford) When as the Rye (Peel) Sigh no more (Shakespeare) Sleep (Fletcher) Pretty Ring Time (Shakespeare) Jillian of Berry (Beaumont and Fletcher) The Bayly berith the Bell away (anon) Passing by (anon) The Frostbound Wood (Blunt) Robin Good-Fellow (anon) Twelve Oxen (anon) Yarmouth Fair (Collins) Romance (Stevenson) To the memory of a great singer (Stevenson) After two years (Aldington) The Droll Lover (anon) Ha'NackerMill (Belloc) My Own Country (Belloc) The Birds (Belloc) Elore Lo (anon) The Fox (Blunt) Fair and True (Breton) Roister Doister (Breton) Cricketers of Hambledon (Blunt) Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Marriner (Capriol; Serenade) Choir of Winchester Cathedral/David Hill (Lullaby) Norman Bailey/Geoffrey Parsons (songs) rec 1972-1994 DECCA The British Music Collection 470 199-2 [71.55] [RB]

Warlockians will not want to miss this collection which is made de rigueur by Bailey. ... see Full Review

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Symphony No. 5 Apocalyptic (1945) Phantastisches Intermezzo (1921) Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Thomas Sanderling - rec Feb 2000, July 2001, Jesus Christus Kirche, Dahlem, Berlin BIS-CD-1077 [64.24] [RB]

Music in Brucknerian manner but with imaginative fibre and a symphony that includes a mighty adagio to treasure.[RB]
Music very much ‘in touch’ with the times. The detailed orchestration has a French brilliance to it.[GP-J]… see Full Review

 

 

 


Detailed listing (last two days)]
[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Y] [Part 6 Misc] 
[Part 7 Misc]

 

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