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Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Complete Keyboard Sonatas - Volume 5 - Sonatas in C K461; in F K82; in Bb K266 - in G K284 - in Eb K507 - in D K214 - in A K404 - in G K124 - in A K 536 - in G K494 in G minor K546 - in A K113 - in B minor K227 - in A K26 in C K548 in C minor K37 Benjamin Frith (piano) - Rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, November 1999 NAXOS 8.554792 [71.10] [GH]

Frith - extremely impressive. … see Full Review

A. Louis SCARMOLIN (1890-1969) The Caliph - An Arabian episode in one act (1948) based on 'An Arabian Day' by Justin Huntly McCarthy to a libretto by Carleton Stevens Montayne Maria Harpner (sop) - Bruce Brown (bar) - Margarete Jungen (mezzo) - Dietmar Kerschbaum (ten) - Steven Gallop (bass) - Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Joel Eric Suben - rec. 5-8 May 1997, Concert Hall, Slovak Radio, Bratislava. DDD CENTAUR CRC 2504 [59.52] [RB]

If you appreciate Arabian Nights entertainments played for sincerity rather than parody you will find plenty to enjoy in this. ... see Full Review

Xaver SCHARWENKA (1850-1924) Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor Op. 56 (1880) [40.33] Piano Concerto No. 3 in C sharp minor Op. 80 (1898) [37.57] Seta Tanyel (piano)
Radio Philharmonie, Hannover des NDR/Tadeusz Strugala rec. Großer Sendesaal, Funkhaus Hannover des NDR, 1996 originally issued Collins Classics 14852 The Romantic Piano Concerto Vol. 33 HYPERION CDA67365 [78.51] [RB]

Scharwenka at his proudest in display and symphonic reach ... see Full Review

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) String Quartet No. 1 (1966) [16.02] String Quartet No. 3 (1983) [18.18] String Quartet No. 4 (1989) [36.11] Canon in Memory of Igor Stravinsky (1971) [4.28] Kapralova Quartet rec. Prague Spring live, 24 and 31 May 2002, Church of St Simon and St Jude, Prague. DDD ARCO DIVA UP 0054-2 131 [75.28] [RB]

Urgency and conviction in this often demanding music ... complete technical command ... see Full Review

Schnittke/Shostakovich Music for cello and piano - Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934- 1998) Cello Sonata No. 1 (1978); Cello Sonata No. 2 (1993-4); Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Sonata Op. 147 arr.Daniil Shafran; Moderato (1934) Adagio from Two pieces, Ballet Suite No. 2 (1951) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) and John York (piano) - Rec. St.Georges, Brandon Hill, April 1998 (Schnittke); Champs Hill, Pulborough, June 2000 (Shostakovich) BLACK BOX BBM 11032 [77.58] [GH]

And yet and yet … perhaps we are too close to it to judge. Something nags at me that this is probably great music and I am somehow missing the point. … see Full Review

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurrelieder (1901-1911) to a text by Jens Peter JACOBSEN in translation by Robert Franz Arnold Gary Lakes (ten) - Waldemar, Eva Marton (sop) - Tove, Florence Quivar (mezzo) - Waldtaube, John Cheek (bass) - Bauer, Jon Garrison (ten) - Klaus the Jester, Hans Hotter (narrator) New York Choral Artists/Joseph Flummerfelt New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta rec. 1992, New York. DDD SONY ESSENTIAL CLASSICS SB2K89902 [2CDs: 58.47+47.46] [RB]

A very well recorded version ... attractive at bargain price with a great Waldemar but a fallible Tove and Waldtaube ... see Full Review

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet No.14 in D minor, D810, ‘Der Tod und das Madchen’ (1824) [38’58] String Quartet No.10 in E flat, D87 (1813) [24’27] Henschel String Quartet (Christoph Henschel, Markus Henschel, violins;Monika Henschel, viola; Matthias D. Beyer, cello) - Rec. Bürgerhaus Pullach, on July 23rd-24th (D810) and December 22nd, 1997 (D87). DDD ARTE NOVA 74321 59220-2 [63’25] [CC]

Overall, the Henschel Quartet provides a fair amount of pleasure, without completely entering Schubert’s world. … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Quintet in A major for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass D667 (1819) Jan Panenka, piano and members of the Smetana Quartet: Jiří Novák, violin; Milan Škampa, viola; Antonín Kohout, cello with František Pošta, double bass; String Quartet No 12 in C minor, ‘Quartettsatz’ D 703 (1820) Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet no. 1 in F major, Op. 18 No.1 (1798-1800) Smetana Quartet: Jiří Novák, violin; Lubomír Kostecky, violin; Milan Škampa, viola; Antonín Kohout, cello Stereo: Digital Remastering. Schubert items recorded Domovina Studio, Prague, June 1960. Beethoven recorded Domovina Studio, Prague, May 1962 SUPRAPHON ARCHIV SU 3738-2 [75:01] [DB]

An unalloyed pleasure. The Smetanas renowned in their day as amongst the finest quartets in the world. An essential purchase … see Full Review

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Goethe Lieder Vol.2 - Sehnsucht, D310 (first version, 1815) [1’50]. Rastlöse Liebe, D138 (1821) [1’17]. Nähe des Geliebten, D162 (1821) [3’21]. Die Liebe, D210 (1815) [1’34]. Sehnsucht, D310 (c1816) [2’03]. Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118 (1814) [3’20]. Szene aus Faust, D126a (1814) [5’33]. Gretchen im Zwinger, D564 (1817) [3’19]. Sehnsucht, D359 (1816) [2’30]. Suleika I, D720 (1821) [5’36]. Suleika II, D717 (1821?) [3’56]. Sehnsucht, D481 (1816) [2’10]. An Mignon, D161a (1815) [2’57]. Mignon und der Harfner, D877 No. 1a (1826) [2’54]. Mignon I, D726 (1821) [2’32]. Mignon II, D727 (1821) [3’04]. Wonne der Wehmut, D260 (1815) [0’47]. Schweizerlied, D559 (1817) [1’15]. Die Spinnerin, D247 (1815) [2’51]. Die Liebende schreibt, D673 (1819) [2’16]. Lied der Mignon, D877 No. 4 (1826) [3’28]. Lied der Mignon, D877 No. 2 (1826) [3’29]. Lied der Mignon, D877 No. 3 (1826) [2’58]. Mignon, D321 (1815) [4’17] Ruth Ziesak (soprano); aChristian Elsner (tenor); Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano) - Rec. Radiostudio, Zürich, on July 15th-16th, October 31st and November 1st, 2002. DDD - Deutsche Schubert-Lied-Edition, Volume 13 - Goethe Lieder, Volume 2 NAXOS 8.554666 [68’16] [CC]

Well, was the wait for Volume 2 worth it?. Alas, no. … see Full Review

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas – No. 4 in A minor, D537 (1817) [19’37] - No. 12 in A, D664 (1819?) [20’55] - Four Impromptus, D899 [26’12] Sergio Fiorentino (piano) - Rec. Konzertsaal Siemensvilla, Berlin on October 20th, 1996 (Sonatas) and October 18th, 1997 (Impromptus) [DDD] - Fiorentino Edition VII APPIAN PUBLICATIONS & RECORDINGS APR5561 [67’29] [CC]

Imbued with the golden glow of the sunset of a life filled with dedication to great music. … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH - Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder with Orchestra: Rosamunde – Romanze, D797 No. 3a (1823) [3’17] - Die Forelle, D550a (orch. Britten) [2’21] - Ellens Zweiter Gesang, D838a (orch. Brahms) [3’07] - Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118a (arr. Reger) [3’26] - An Silvia, D891a (orch. anon) [2’59] - Im Abendrot, D799a [3’45] - Nacht und Träume, D827a [3’44] - Gruppe aus Tartarus, D583a [3’04] (all arr. Reger) - Erlkönig, D328a (arr. Berlioz) [4’02] - Die junge Nonne, D828a [4’45] (arr. Liszt) - Die schöne Müllerin, D795 – No. 10, Tränenregenb. Die Winterreise, D911 – No. 20, Der Wegweiserb. Du bist die Ruh’, D776b. Schwanengesang, D957 – No. 9, Ihr Bildb (all arr. Webern) - Prometheus, D674b (arr. Reger) - Memnon, D541b. An Schwager Kronos, D369b (both arr. Brahms) - An die Musik, D547b. Erlkönig, D328b (both arr. Reger) - Geheimes, D719a (arr. Brahms) - Schwanengesang, D957 – No. 4, Stänchenb (arr. Offenbach) aAnne Sofie von Otter (mezzo) - bThomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone) - Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado - Rec. live, Grand Salle, Cité de la musique, Paris, in May 2002. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 471 586-2 [72’44] [CC]

This is a fascinating endeavour … A disc to return to many, many times. … see Full Review

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets: No. 14 in D minor, D810, ‘Der Tod und das Madchen’ (1824) - [39’13]; No. 10 in E flat, D87 (1813) [21’43] Yggdrasil String Quartet (Fredrik Paulsson, Per Öman, violins; Robert Westlund, viola; Per Nyström, cello) - Rec. Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm, Sweden in December 2000. DDD BIS CD1201 [61’37] [CC]

Taken as a whole, this makes a rewarding hour’s listening. … see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1953) Symphony no. 1 in B flat major, op. 38 – "Spring", Symphony no. 4 in D minor, op. 120 Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler - Recorded live, Berlin, October 29th 1951, March 17th 1951 - AURA AUR 257 [64:44] [CH]

Summary: Keep away! . … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15 (1838) Maria-João Pires, piano Recorded at Chartreuse de Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, August 1984 WARNER APEX 2564 60363 [51:48] [DS]

Superb pianism and a complete immersion in Schumann’s most extreme psychology.… see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Paganini Etüden Op.10 - Allegro Op.8 - Sonate Op.118/2 - Faschingsschwank Aus Wien Op.26 Franz Vorraber (piano) - Recorded in Germany 28.07.2002 (No venue mentioned) Piano: Bösendorfer - The Complete Piano Works. Vol. 5 THOROFON CTH 2517 [76:08] [LB]

A bold undertaking. Thorofon have matched an exceptional artist with a composer whose music appears to course through his veins. … see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies: 1 in e, op. 39, 2 in D, op. 43, 3 in C, op. 52, 4 in a, op. 63, 5 in E flat, op. 82, 6 in d, op. 104, 7 in C, op. 105, Luonnotar, op. 70*, Pohjola’s Daughter, op. 49 New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein, with *Phyllis Curtin (soprano) - Recorded March 3rd 1967 (1), May 15th 1966 (2), October 18th 1965 (3), February 1st 1966 (4), March 27th 1961 (5), May 9th 1967 (6), March 28th 1960 and October 12 1965 (7), May 1st 1964 (op. 70, op. 49), in the Philharmonic Hall of New York (Symphonies) and the Manhattan Center (op. 70, op. 49) SONY CLASSICAL Columbia Legends SM4K87329 087329003 [4 CDs, 63:18, 65:39, 72:17, 49:40] [CH]

A magnificent bargain, with playing of great intensity and conviction and only one symphony about which serious reservations have to be expressed. … see Full Review

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Thirty-Six Greek Dances (1933-49): Series I (1933-35) [26.45]; II (1936-49) [48.29]; III (1936-49) [35.07] - Alternative Versions of Dances II/8, II/9; III/6 (1949) [6.45] - The Return of Ulysses - Overture for Orchestra (c.1942) [28.23] BBC Symphony Orchestra/Nikos Christodoulou - rec. BBC Studio 1, Maida Vale, London, 26-28 Nov 2001, 11-13 Apr 2002. DDD BIS-CD-1333/1334 [2CDs: 75.48+71.32] [RB]

The gargantuan overture will appeal most immediately to out and out Schoenberg enthusiasts. The dances have great potential for popularity. I recommend this set strongly. ... see Full Review

Padre Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Sonata No. 86 in D major,Sonata No. 84 in D major, Sonata No. 72 in F minor, Sonata No. 132 in B flat major, Sonata No. 119 in B flat major, Sonata No. 24 in D minor, Sonata No. 25 in D minor, Sonata No. 12 in G major ‘De La Codorniz’ (The Quail), Sonata No. 13 in G major, Sonata No. 14 in G major, Sonata No. 99 in C major Op. 8, No.3 (1783): Andantino; Minuets I and II; Rondo pastoril (Allegretto); Allegro Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord) Recorded 5-7 July, 2000 in Epsom College Concert Hall, Surrey. DDD Sonatas for Harpsichord, Volume 9 NAXOS 8.555032 [72:41] [MC]

A really fine performance from Gilbert Rowland who was an inspired choice by Naxos for this cycle … see Full Review

Luka SORKOČEVIĆ (1734-1789) Overture in G [04:28] - Symphony nr 1 in D [06:27] - Symphony nr 2 in G [04:28] - Symphony nr 3 in D [05:46] - Symphony nr 4 in F [05:48] - Symphony nr 5 in D [06:17] - Symphony nr 6 in D [05:50] - Symphony nr 7 in G [05:50] - Sinfonia in G [05:13] - Eroica Staccato (with Trio) [03:24] - Sonata for violin and bc in A [06:03] - Trio for flute, violin and bc in G [05:16] Salzburger Hofmusik/Wolfgang Brunner - Recorded in February 1999 and February 2000 at the Villa Berg, Stuttgart DDD CPO 999 678-2 [66:40] [JvV]

Music by an unknown composer from 18th century Croatia: more entertainment than deep thoughts, but nice to listen to and well played. … see Full Review

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Symphonies, Piano Concerto, Prometheus, Poem of Ecstasy , Reverie Symphony No.1 in E major, Op.26 (1899-1900) - Prometheus, the Poem of Fire, Op.60 (Symphony No.5 in F sharp major)(1908-10) - Symphony No.2 in C minor, Op.29 (1902) - Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op.20 (1897) - Reverie, prelude for orchestra, Op.24 (1898) - Symphony No.3, Op.43 ’The Divine Poem’ (1902-03) - The Poem of Ecstasy, Op.54 (Symphony No.4 in C major) (1905-08) Peter Jablonski (piano) - Brigitte Balleys (mezzo-soprano) - Sergei Larin (tenor) - Rundfunkchor Berlin/Gerd Müller-Lorenz (chorus master) - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Vladimir Ashkenazy - Recorded at: Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem, May 1990 (Reverie, Symphony No.3), June 1990 (The Poem of Ecstasy), September 1995 (CD2). Schauspielhaus, Berlin, June 1994 (CD1). DDD DECCA TRIO 473 971-2 [3CDs:68:52+69:27+70:12] [MC]

Richly colourful, imaginative, expressive, often sumptuous … wonderfully performed and recorded. … see Full Review

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Morning Service in C, op. 115 (1909): Te Deum, Benedictus, Three Latin Motets, op. 38 (before 1891), Evening Service in C, op. 115 (1909), Communuin Service in C, op. 115 (1909) (including Kyrie in Latin arr. C.S. Phillips and C.E.S Littlejohn from op. 81 and Benedictus and Agnus Dei in F), Prelude in G major (not minor as given on the cover), op. 105/3 (1908), Evening Service in G, op. 81 (1902), Postlude in D minor, op. 105/6 (1908), For lo, I raise up, op. 145 (1914) Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge/Christopher Robinson, with Christopher Whitton (organ) - Recorded 12th-13th July 2002 in St. John’s College Chapel, Cambridge NAXOS 8.555794 [71:09] [CH]

Unfortunately this disc contains nothing that has not been done better elsewhere. … see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Music for Wind Instruments, Volume 1. Sonatina in E flat, AV143, ‘Fröhliche Werkstatt’ (1943) [39’38] - Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 (arr. Carp) (1895) [15’47] Ensemble Villa Musica - Rec. Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen on June 22nd, 1998 (Sonatina) and November 8th-9th, 2002 (Op. 28). DDD DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM GOLD MDG304 1172-2 [55’39] [CC]

There is plenty of energy in the Ensemble Villa Musica’s playing: they project a youthful vigour and enthusiasm … Volume 2 is to be eagerly awaited. … see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Sinfonia Domestica Op. 53 [43.20] (1923) - Parergon Op. 73 [22.04] (1924) Roland Pöntinen (piano) [Parergon] - Tonhalle Orchestra, Zürich/David Zinman - Strauss Orchestral Works, Vol. 6 ARTE NOVA CLASSICS 74321 98335 2 [65.29] [RBr]

Zinman’s approach: refreshing, highlighting the invention and vivacity … a clean, clear interpretation with a by no means leisurely beat that neatly evades pomposity. … see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Op.64 (1915) Festliches Präludium, Op.61 Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/David Zinman - Rec. Feb 2002, Tonhalle, Zurich - Orchestral works vol. 4 ARTE NOVA 74321 92779-2 [63.44] [TB]

The listener is swept along by the colour and even the sheer grandeur of the music, though rival versions have greater opulence. … see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird (1910 version - full) [45.46] - The Rite of Spring (1910) [32.12] Philharmonia Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen - rec. 1990s, London. DDD SONY ESSENTIAL CLASSICS SBK89894 [77.58] [RB]

Resoundingly recorded ... generous to a fault. Outstandingly strong interpretations ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ronald STEVENSON (b.1928) A'e Gowden Lyric: Songs by Ronald Stevenson Susan Hamilton (soprano) John Cameron (piano) world premiere recordings rec. 21-22 Nov 2001, St Mary's Collegiate Church, Haddington, East Lothian. DDD DELPHIAN DCD 34006 [66.59] [JW]

Capture the wideness of Stevenson’s imagination and its charm and punch; depth and thoughtfulness, amplifying, refracting and complementing the poets’ lines in a way that enriches and moves. … see Full Review

Lepo SUMERA (1950-2000) Cello Concerto (1998-99) [28.20] Musica Profana (1997) [12.25] Symphony No. 6 (2000) [24.32] Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi
Rec. 2-4 Oct 2001, Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, Estonia. DDD BIS-CD-1360 [66.20]

Sumera's last phase reflected in tension, elation and in the hard-won contentment of the symphony ... see Full Review

Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911) Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 4 (1866) - Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 15 (1876) Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Marriss Jansons - Rec. August 1987, Konserthaus, Oslo EMI CLASSICS 585069-2 [68.00] [TB]

A terrific sweep of powerfully imaginative, genuinely symphonic material. Scoring is masterly… the rich toned strings do Svendsen proud. … see Full Review

Franz SYBERG (1904-55) Sinfonietta (1935) [22.44] - Adagio for Strings (1938) [10.10] - Symphony (1939) [29.46] Odense SO/Tamás Vetö - rec. Odense, 1990 KONTRAPUNKT 32088 [62.40] [RB]

Syberg's highly rated music here presented in all its Hindemith and Nielsen accented finery … brilliant and committed performances. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Violin Concertos: Concerto for violin and strings in A major, D.96; Concerto for violin and strings in B minor, D.125; Concerto for violin and strings in C major, D.2; Concerto for violin and strings; in A minor, D.115 'A Lunardo Venier'; Concerto for violin and strings in F major, D.67 Piero Toso (violin) - I solisti Veneti/Claudio Scimone - Previously released material rec Villa Trieste, Vaccarino, Italy, June 1970. ADD WARNER CLASSICS APEX 2564 60152 2 [67:55] [MC]

This would not be my first choice if I desired a recording of a sample of Tartini’s violin concertos. … see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23 (1874) - Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito - Andantino semplice – Prestissimo – Tempo I - Allegro con fuoco Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.25 (1830) - Molto allegro con fuoco - Andante - Presto – Molto allegro e vivace Lang Lang (piano) - Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim - Recorded Feb. 2003: Chicago, Symphony Centre, Orchestra Hall DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 474 291-2 [59’26] [MM]

Solid but uncharacteristically detached accounts of two popular concertos which conspicuously miss the electricity of a live occasion… see Full Review

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Slippers, (also known as ‘Cherevichki’). opera in 4 Acts Vakula, Konstantin Lissovsky (ten); Oksana, Nina Formina (sop); Solokha the witch, Lyudmilla Simonova (m. sop); Bess the devil, Oleg Klenov (bar); Tchub, Aleksey Krivchena (ten) - Grand Choir of the USSR Radio and TV - Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio/Vladimir Fedoseyev - Recorded 1974. No venue given - Silver Edition RELIEF CR 991054 [2CDs: 73.31+75.34] [RJF]

As good as we are likely to get … a very welcome addition to the catalogue. I commend it to all those interested in the genre and the composer’s works. … see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893) Capriccio Italien, Op 45 (1789) [16.16] - Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasia, Op 45 (1789) [20.22] - Marche Slav, Op 31 (1789) [9.16] - Snow Maiden: Dance of the Tumblers, Op 45 (1873) [4.24] - 1812 Overture, Op 49 (1789) [15.33] National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/Theodore Kuchar - Recorded at National Radio Grand Concert Studio, Kyiv, Ukraine, 22 August 2001 - Notes in English and Deutsch NAXOS 8.555923 [65.51] [PS]

A very fine traversal of Tchaikovsky’s Greatest Hits well played and recorded. You can pay a lot more but you can only do a very little bit better … see Full Review

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Pique Dame, (Queen of Spades) - opera in three Acts. Extracts from Pushkin’s poem read by Alla Demidova with brief interspersed scenes from the opera - The Countess, Irina Arkhipova (m. sop); Yeletsky, Dmitri Hvorostovsky (bar); Surin, Alexander Vedernikov (bass); Hermann, Vitaly Tarashchenko (ten); Count Tomsky, Grigory Gritsuk (bar); Lisa, Natalia Datsko (sop); Pauline, Nina Romanova (cont); Vesna Children’s Choir
The Yurlov State Academic Russian Choir Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio/Vladimir Fedoseyev - The opera; recorded live in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on December 25th 1989. The readings, and extracts, also recorded live at the ‘Pushkin Concert’ celebrating the poet’s 200th birthday on May 24th 1999 also from the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory RELIEF CR 991067 [3CDs: 67.46+66.01+71.28] [RJF]

Caught with the tension of a live performance, but without the disadvantage of stage movement, this well sung and played idiomatic performance is a worthy addition to the catalogue. … see Full Review

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Messiah, for chorus and orchestra TWV 6:4 (circa.1750s) [32:54]: Part 1 TWV 6:4a [13:09]; Part 2 TWV 6:4b [19:45] - Partie, in A minor for 2 recorders, 2 oboes, 2 violins and basso continuo (bassoon, cello, violone, harpsichord) TWV 44:42 [6:47] - Sonata, in F major for 2 violins, 2 violas, and basso continuo (cello, violone, organ) TWV 44:21 [8:40] - Concerto, in E flat major for strings (2 violins, viola) and basso continuo (bassoon, cello, violone, harpsichord) TWV 43:Es 1 [9:06] Veronika Winter (soprano) - Marion Eckstein (contralto) - Jan Kobow (tenor) - Klaus Mertens (bass) - Telemannisches Collegium Michaelstein/Ludger Remy - Rec. Blankenburg am Harz, Bartholomauskirche, Sept. 16-19, 2001, Jan. 25, 2002. DDD CPO 999 847-2 [57:36] [MC]

The Messiah does not show Telemann at his best and there are some strange sounds on one of the instrumental works. … see Full Review

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Oboe Concertos English Chamber Orchestra Thomas Indermühle (oboe, director) Licensed from AVC, Switzerland CLASSIC COLLECTION 99891 [64.50] [RH]

A lovely selection of Telemann's oboe concertos in winning performances from a distinguished Swiss oboist. … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Eduard TUBIN (1905-1982) Complete symphonies, Toccata, Suite from the ballet ‘Kratt’ (‘The Goblin’) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Neeme Järvi BIS CD 1402/1404 [63’20"+64’01"+62’46"+65’24"+75’49"] {5for3}

This set, offered by BIS as five CDs for the price of three, represents an outstanding bargain and I recommend it wholeheartedly. … see Full Review

Pēteris VASKS (b.1946) Symphony No. 2 (1998-99) [38.28] Violin Concerto Tālā gaisma (1996-97) [33.43] John Storgårds (violin) Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgårds (symphony) Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra/Juha Kangas (concerto) rec. Tampere Hall, May 2002 (sym); Arts Centre, Kaustinen, April 2002 (concerto) ONDINE ODE 1005-2 [73.21] [RB]

Two rewarding lyrical works written during the last decade, generously coupled, passionately performed and luminously recorded ... see Full Review

Pēteris VASKS (b.1946) Three Poems by Czesław Milosz (1994) [18.17] Zemgale (1988) [12.53] Māte saule (Mother sun) (1975) [5.25] Madrigāls (1975) [3.44] Litene (1993) [9.14] Dona Nobis Pacem (1996) [14.43] Latvian Radio Choir Sigvards Kļava Kaspars Putniņš Aivars Kalējs (organ) rec. May 2000, Riga Cathedral (Milosz; Dona); Reformation Church, Riga BIS-CD-1145 [66.11] [RB]

Sincerity itself ... meditative, full of a steady undazzling light ... the silken thread back to folk melody and rhythmic life. ... see Full Review

Pēteris VASKS (b.1919) Piano Quartet (2001) [35.40] Tālivaldis ĶENIŅŠ (b.1943) Piano Quartet No. 1 (1958) [18.59] RIX Piano Quartet (Sandis Šteinbergs, Ilze Kļava (violins); Reinis Berzieks (cello); Jānis Maļeckis, piano) rec. Latvian radio studio, Dec. 2001, DDD ULMA-123 [54.40][RB]

Two Latvian works: one brilliant but bearing sombre cargo; the other alive with folk elements and rhythmic vitality. ... see Full Review

INESSA GALANTE: Arias from Verdi’s late works Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un ballo in maschera (1858): Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa, Morrò, ma prima in grazia La forza del destino (1862): La Vergine degli angeli, Pace, pace mio Dio Aida (1871): Ritorna vincitor, O patria mia Don Carlo (1867 rev. 1884): Tu che le vanità Otello (1887): Salce, salce, Ave Maria Falstaff (1893): Sul fil d’un soffio esteso Requiem (1874): Libera me Inessa Galante (soprano), Choir of the Stockholm School of Economics, Riga, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Terje Mikkelson Recorded January 2003, Riga recording studio CAMPION RRCD1349 [72:52] [CH]

A splendid voice, warm and rich, but she has some way to go before she can match the greats of the past. … see Full Review

Henry VIEUXTEMPS (1820 - 1881) Violin Concerto No.5 in A minor, 'Grétry', Op. 37 † Violin Concerto No.6 in G major, Op. 47 † Violin Concerto No.7 in A minor, Op. 49 * Misha Keylin (vn.) - Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Mogrelia () - Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra/Takuo Yuasa (*) - Rec. Slovak Radio Concert Hall, Bratislava, April 2002 (), and Musis Sacrem - Arnhem, Netherlands, February 1999 (*) NAXOS 8.557016 [64'56] [PS]

Ears jaded by over-exposure to the Mendelssohn and "the" Bruch? Liven them up with Keylin’s Vieuxtemps - benefits both your ears and your back pocket! … see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) String Quartets: Volume 1 String Quartet No. 1 (1915) String Quartet No. 6 (1938) String Quartet No. 17 (1957) Latin American Quartet Recorded Troy, New York, 1994 DORIAN DOR 90205 [64.47] [JW]

A fine start to a much neglected body of work. Documentation and recording are both excellent. There are five more volumes to come and I’ll be reviewing them all with the greatest interest. … see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) String Quartets: Volume 2 String Quartet No. 3 (1916) String Quartet No. 8 (1944) String Quartet No. 14 (1953) Latin American Quartet Recorded Troy, New York, 1995 DORIAN DOR 90220 [65.41] [JW]

I found the Latin American Quartet sensitive and thoughtful interpreters well deserving of your time. … see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) String Quartets: Volume 3 String Quartet No. 7 (1942) String Quartet No. 15 (1954) Latin American Quartet Recorded Mexico City, September 1996 DORIAN DOR 90246 [53.35] [JW]

Admiration undimmed for these inventive, life-enhancing works we now reach Volume 3. … see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) String Quartets: Volume 4 String Quartet No. 2 (1915) String Quartet No. 12 (1950) String Quartet No. 16 (1955) Latin American Quartet Recorded Mexico City, 1988 DORIAN DOR 93179 [64.16] [JW]

Once again this is a thoroughly convincing traversal in a natural acoustic … see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) String Quartets: Volume 5: String Quartet No. 5 (1931) String Quartet No. 10 (1946) String Quartet No. 13 (1951) Latin American Quartet Recorded Mexico City, 2000 DORIAN DOR 93211 [62.06] [JW]

Latin American Quartet are acute and sensitive guides to this literature and they play with imagination and affection. … see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) String Quartets: Volume 6 String Quartet No. 4 (1917) String Quartet No. 9 (1945) String Quartet No. 11 (1948) Latin American Quartet Recorded Mexico City, 2000 DORIAN DOR 93229 [79.23] [JW]

The sensitivity and understanding of the Latin American Quartet are palpable … see Full Review

Carl VINE (b. 1954) Chamber Music Volume 2 Piano Sonata No. 2 (1997) Sonata for Flute and Piano (1992) String Quartet No. 3 (1994) Five Bagatelles (1994) Inner World (1994) Michael Kieran Harvey – piano (Piano Sonata) Geoffrey Collins – flute David Miller – piano (Flute Sonata) Tall Poppies Quartet Ian Munro – piano (Bagatelles) David Pereira – cello (Inner World) Recorded 10/2/99, Newcastle Conservatorium (Piano Sonata); 16/2/95, Studio 200, ABC Sydney (Flute Sonata); 21/7/97, Studio 200, Sydney (String Quartet); January 1996, Newcastle Conservatorium (Bagatelles); August 1996, Studio 256, ABC Sydney (Inner World) DDD TALL POPPIES TP120 [73:34] [CT]

Volume Two of Tall Poppies’ useful anthology of Australian Carl Vine’s chamber music in strong, committed performances. … see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741) - The Four Seasons Concerto in E major, Opus 8 No. 1, 'Spring' Concerto in G minor, Opus 8 No. 2, 'Summer' - Concerto in F major, Opus 8 No.3, 'Autumn' - Concerto in F minor, Opus 8 No. 4 'Winter' - Flute Concerto in D major, Opus 10 No. 3 'Il Gardellino' - Concerto for 2 Trumpets in C major Sloval Chamber Orchestra/Bohdan Warchal - Originally Issued in 1989 by Opus CLASSIC COLLECTION 99914 [61.31] [RH]

A disappointing version of the familiar classics … see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Seven Violin Concertos I Solisti Veneti/Claudio Scimone Piero Toso (violin RV 270, RV 271, RV 363, RV 199); Marco Fornaciari (violin RV 208, RV 234); Kazuki Sasaki, Glauco Bertaguin, Fabrizio Scalabrin (violins RV 553) Recorded at the Villa Simes, Piazolla sul Brenta, Italy: first five concertos in July 1970 ADD; final two concertos in June 1983 ADD WARNER CLASSICS APEX 2564 60150 2 [71:29] [MC]

Satisfying however there are many exciting newer recordings available that are guaranteed to please. … see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concertos for Flute and Orchestra Concerto for flute and orchestra, in F major Op. 10, No. 1 RV 433 ’La tempesta di mare’ (A storm at sea) Concerto for flute and orchestra, in G minor Op. 10, No. 2 RV 439 ’La Notte’ (The night) Concerto for flute and orchestra, in D major Op. 10, No. 3 RV 428 ‘Il Cardellino’ (The Goldfinch) Concerto for flute and orchestra, in G major Op. 10, No. 4 RV 435 Concerto for flute and orchestra, in F major Op. 10, No. 5 RV 434 Concerto for flute and orchestra, in G major Op. 10, No. 6 RV 437 Concerto for flute and orchestra, in D major RV 427 Concerto for flute and orchestra, in G major RV 414 Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute) I Solisti Veneti/Claudio Scimone (Conductor) Recorded at San Giorgio de Venise, Italy. No exact recording dates c.1965 ADD WARNER CLASSICS APEX 2564 60373 2 [67:44] [MC]

A re-release from Apex of tired sounding and rather uninspiring performances of eight Vivaldi flute concertos … see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Magnificat R. 611 [21:32] Gloria R. 589 [29:37] Teresa Berganza, mezzo-soprano Lucia Valentini Terrani, contralto New Philharmonia Chorus/Norbert Balatsch New Philharmonia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti Recorded October and November 1978 and June 1977 ADD Great Recordings of the Century series EMI CLASSICS 66987 [51:24] [KS]

Perhaps fine for its day, but its day has long passed … time for this to be retired … see Full Review

Amadeo VIVES (1871-1932) Doña Francisquita (1923) - a lyrical comedy zarzuela in three acts book by Federico Romero and Guillermo Fernández Shaw - Fernando - Alfredo Kraus (tenor) - Francisquita - Maria Bayo (soprano) - Aurora - Raquel Pierotti (mezzo-soprano) - Cardona - Santiago S. Jerico (tenor) - Francisca - Rosa Maria Ysas (contralto) - Don Matias - Alfonso Echeverria (bass) - Polifónico Choir, and Reyes Bartlet Choir (Puerto de la Cruz) - Choir of University of La Laguna/C. Alfonso Cedrés) - Rondalla of Tenerife/C. Alfonso Cedrés) - Orchestra Sinfonica of Tenerife/Antoni Ros-Marbá - Recorded at the University of La Laguna, Tenerife, 1993 NAÏVE CLASSIQUE: V 4893 [2CDs: 52:53+47:31] [RJW]

Vives' score is fresh and exciting, full of colour and the music flows well … an excellent feel for harmony and rhythm … see Full Review

Leopold Stokowski conducts the music of Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) CD 1 – 74.09 1 Rienzi: Overture - Lohengrin: Prelude to Act I Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III Das Rheingold: Symphonic Synthesis - Die Walküre: excerpts CD 2 - 73:04 1 Die Walküre: "Magic Fire Music" Siegfried: excerpts Götterdämmerung: excerpts Götterdämmerung: finale CD 3 - 74:50 Tannhäuser: Overture and Venusberg Music Tannhäuser: Overture and Venusberg Music Tannhäuser: Prelude to Act III 1Tannhäuser: Overture Tannhäuser: Fest March "Entry of the Guests" CD 4 - 72:53 Tristan und Isolde: Symphonic Synthesis (Tristan und Isolde: Symphonic Synthesis CD 5 - 72:15 Wesendonck Lieder: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude to Act I Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude to Act III Parsifal: Prelude to Act I Parsifal: Act III Parsifal: Symphonic Synthesis from Act III ANDANTE AND 1130 [1131-1135] [5 CDs 367.11] [JW]

Comprehensive and alluring example of Stokowski’s art at its most ardent and will revel in the sound of the Philadelphia’s Wagnerian passion … see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde Isolde – Nanny Larsen-Todsen (soprano) Tristan – Gunnar Graarud (tenor) Brangäne – Anny Helm, Kurwenal – Rudolf Bockelmann, King Marke - Ivar Andrésen, Melot – Joachim Sattler, Ein Junger Seemann – Gustav Rodin, Ein Hirt – Hans Beer, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus/Karl Elmendorff Recorded in the Wagner Theatre, Bayreuth, August 1928 Excerpts from Act III Isolde – Göta Ljungberg (soprano) Tristan – Walter Widdop (tenor) Brangäne – Genia Guszalalewicz, Kurwenal – Howard Fry, Charles Victor and Edward Habich, King Marke - Ivar Andrésen, Melot – Marcel Noë , Ein Hirt – Kennedy McKenna London Symphony Orchestra Berlin State Opera Orchestra Lawrance Collingwood/Albert Coates/Leo Blech Recorded London and Berlin 1927 Talk: The Motifs and Their Function in the Opera Explained and Illustrated by Ernest Newman [8.27] NAXOS 8.110200-02 [3 CDs: 208.45] [JW]

Singing with considerable intensity … a love duet of real depth … see Full Review

Robin WALKER (b.1953) I Thirst – instrumental and chamber works Dance/Still (1982) - Dances with Chant and Chorales (1986) - Mr Gilbert dines at the Modern Hindu Hotel (1994) - Invention (1994) - I Thirst (1994) - Halifax (1995) - At the Grave of William Baines (1999) - His Master’s Voice (2001) Peter Lawson (piano), Jonathan Scott (organ), John Turner (recorder), Rex Lawson (pianola) - Camerata Ensemble String Quartet - The New Ensemble Royal Northern College of Music/Clark Rundell - Rec. 2002. DDD RIVERRUN RECORDS RVRCD66 [65.03] [RC]

Walker is Robert Simpson’s natural successor in his command of large organic structure juxtaposing vitality with stasis … see Full Review

Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) ‘The Curlew’** (1920-22) [22’12"] ‘Lillygay’* (1922) 6’52"] ‘Peter Warlock’s Fancy’* (1924) [2’10"] ‘Peterisms’, first set (1922) [4’20"] ‘My gostly fader’* (1918) [2’02"] ‘Bright is the ring of words’* (1918) [1’42"] ‘Saudades’* (1916-17) [7’23"] ‘The cloths of Heaven’ (1916) [2’10"] ‘The frostbound wood’* (1929) [3’10"] ‘Bethlehem Down’* (1927/1930) [4’33"] ‘Sweet and twenty’ (1924) [2’00"] ‘And wilt thou leave me thus?’* (1928) [2’03"] ‘Mr. Belloc’s Fancy’* (1921) [1’33"] ‘Peterisms’, second set (1922) [3’55"] ‘The Bachelor’ (1922) [0’50"] ‘Away to Twiver’ (1926) [1’54"] ‘Captain Stratton’s Fancy’* [1’47"] Adrian Thompson (tenor) *Christopher Maltman (baritone) John Constable (piano) **The Duke Quartet; Philippa Davis (flute); Christine Pendrill (cor anglais) Recorded 3, 4, 11 February, 1997 at All Saint’s Church, East Finchley, London NAXOS 8.557115 [70’28"] [JQ]

A most useful introduction to the songs of Peter Warlock … see Full Review

Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Chamber Music for Strings Slow Movement for String Quartet, Op. Posth. (1905) [9’39] - String Quartet, Op. Posth. (1905) [17’13] - Rondo for String Quartet, Op. Posth. (1906) [7’31] - Five Movements for String Quartet, Op.5 (1909) [11’47] - Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op.7 (1910-14) [5’16] - Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op.9 (1911-13) [4’20] - Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.Posth. (1914) [1’24] - Three Little Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op.11 (1914) [2’46] - String Trio, Op.20 (1926-7) [10’22] - String Quartet, Op.28 (1936-38) [8’50] The Schoenberg Quartet with Sepp Grotenhuis (piano) - Recorded at the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht and Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, between July 2000 and February 2002 CHANDOS CHAN10083 [79’49] [TH]

Recommended, even if you still find Webern hard work. … 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-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] 
[Part 7 Misc M-Z]

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